When speaking to a priest who tells you that he "got his call", especially at this time of the year, the first thing that comes to mind is "the call" from the bishop regarding a transfer or another job. I received my "call" yesterday, July 1st - but not from the bishop or the main office, but from a good friend and brother, Mike Ripple. Nearly every year for over twenty years I receive a call from Mike to celebrate the first day of the Battle of Gettysburg. This great battle of the Civil War took place from July 1 - 3 in 1863 in the sleepy hamlet of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, one of my favorite places. It was on that first day that an advance scouting group of the Union troops observed the advance of the Confederate troops coming from Chambersburg through Cashtown from the West into Gettysburg. They were spotted on the ridges West of town and scrimmages took place before the battle commenced. Herr's Ridge (a great Inn is located there on Route 30) and Seminary Ridge (where the Lutheran Seminary is still located) and the entire area West and North of town became the scene of a battle that would proceed and change the course of the war. Buford plays a prominent role in getting the word out to the Northern troops as he observed troop movements from the cupola of the seminary building. Today and tomorrow (July 2 & 3) marked decisive battles, before the South was led South again in the rain and heat of July 4th, one hundred and fifty one years ago.
I thank Mike for his call yesterday, and for reintroducing me to the beauty and history of Gettysburg which is a short three and a half hour drive East on Route 30 from where I now live. It has been awhile since I visited, but if you are ever in that area, by all means, stop and visit. It will be worth your while. Don't do the touristy thing, but get a guide and delve into Pennsylvania and United States history.