This weekender is a little different…. Instead of sharing somewhere new to visit, let’s reflect on our favorite places to return to.
Yesterday (Thanksgiving) I was in downtown Fredericksburg for an event. My route out of downtown took me past the National Cemetery and Sunken Road. I checked the clock; plenty of time before my next engagement. The sunlight was perfect and I’m not sure how many more perfect end of autumn days we’ll have, so I decided to stop.
For a while, I was the only one there. The silent cemetery, deserted cannons on Willis Hill, compassionate statue of Kirkland, bullet-shot Innis House, and sentinel wall.
I had been to Sunken Road several times already this year and I know I will be back again around the battle anniversary. It might seem like an odd place to go on Thanksgiving to some people, but for me it was a chance to return to important historic site on a beautiful day. And I started thinking about the places we return.
Why do we go back? Perhaps to research. Stand where an ancestor stood. Perhaps to feel alone and think. To feel small and humbled by the magnitude of what happened in the past.
I suspect most of us have a battlefield or historic site that is significant or special. A place we always return or always want to return. If you’re willing to share, I’d love to hear in the comments about the historic place that you return to visit and spend time.
As a final thought, perhaps stopping and returning to Sunken Road was the right thing to do on Thanksgiving morning. As I spent time at the Kirkland statue and walking through the cemetery thinking about sacrifice, a quote from General George S. Patton came to mind and seemed to frame the experience: “We should thank God such men lived.”
Where is the historic site that you always return or are planning to return?