We all find inspiration in different things. For some it may be the stories of heroics we watch on the news or in those who overcome hardship to find success. For others it may be within the pages of a book, a lecture from a teacher, or a letter from a loved one. But what about the battlegrounds of the Civil War fought over 145 years ago?
The Civil War ended in 1863 however, it continues to impact the lives of many Americans. In 1915 one man in particular felt the power of this war as he stood on the Gettysburg battlefields, a young West Point cadet, nearly 72 years after the war had ended. Inspired, his life led him to return four years later as the commander of an army tank corps training center which was located on the fields of Pickett’s charge. From there, he cultivated a strong military career including becoming a 5 star general, the Supreme Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force in WW2, President of Columbia University, and the Supreme Commander of NATO. But he wasn’t finished yet. He then continued on to become the 34th President of the United States.
Dwight D Eisenhower was and still is a household name for the legacy he created with his determination and intelligence. But most of us don’t think of his ties to the Gettysburg battlefields. Many are still unaware that he and his wife, Mamie, purchased a beautiful farm in Gettysburg. After renovations were completed in 1955, they used their inspirational home for holidays and weekends. He frequently hosted world leaders and used the battlefields to make his point that many lessons can be gleamed from events in history. When he suffered a heart attack during his presidential term, the home became a temporary White House including a secret service checkpoint and security buildings that still stand today.
After Dwight had fulfilled his two consecutive Presidential Terms, the Eisenhowers retired to their farm. He lived out his last years surrounded by the inspiration that drove him to greatness. He passed away at the age of 78 in 1969. His wife Mamie continued to live on the property until she passed away in 1979. The farm was donated to the National Park Service who took over in 1980. Today, it is open to the public. People visit from far and wide with an eager curiosity to learn about the life of this great man and his wife and in hopes of finding some inspiration of their own.
Want to learn more about the Eisenhowers? You can! There is a virtual museum full of information and pictures about their lives. You can view it at www.nps.gov/museum/exhibits/eise/index.html. In addition to the online museum, you can visit the farm. Contact the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum and Visitor Center for details. Dwight was inspired to greatness by the Civil War and the battlegrounds on which it was fought. He shared this with many throughout his career. What inspiration for your life will you find on the battlefields of Gettysburg?