June 8, 2014

Gettysburg Field Trip: Day 2

Thursday, May 29: As I lay in bed on the morning of the second day of this trip, I though about the 6:00am check out time and the continental breakfast that would be waiting for me in the dining room. It was a quiet morning, very unlike the evening before in which I spend quite a while laying in bed listening to some of the kids from the trip running through the hotel corridors engaged in some kind of game of Civil War-themed tag. The thought was a pleasant one. When breakfast time was finished, the last muffin eaten, and the last cup of orange juice drained, the entire group once again loaded on to the buses for the battlefield tour. My son and I had taken the battlefield tour during our previous visit to Gettysburg and both times now we have been extremely impressed by the tour guides. Very knowledgeable and passionate about the Civil War. It felt really good to be seeing all of the famous landmarks again: Little Roundtop, Culp's Hill, Cemetary Ridge, Peach Orchard, etc. The monuments that stand in all of these places are absolutely amazing to see. If you've never been there, a trip to Gettysburg is something that I highly recommend.

After completing the tour and dropping the guides back off at the Visitor's Center, the buses once again hit the highway for the long ride to New Jersey. Once crossing over the Benjamin Franklin Bridge at Philadelphia, the buses stopped for a mediocre lunch at a buffet place, and then it was on to the Adventure Aquarium. This is also a place that my son and I have visited in the past, though we definitely found new things that grabbed our attention. I liked the hippopotami in particular. For such immense creatures, they can glide through the water as if they were birds in flight. It's fascinating to see. I also really enjoyed the shark tunnel and the jellyfish tanks. My son and his friends got caught up watching a wrestling match that erupted between two lobsters. If these crustaceans only knew that they had a captive audience...

It was another 3-hour drive back to New York and it was after 8:00pm when the bus wheels finally touched down in the school parking lot. As I unloaded the bags from under the bus, I glanced around at all of the kids. During one of the school meetings, the teachers said that the students would come back from this trip a little bit different from when they left and I could definitely see what they meant. These children went off to Gettysburg as elementary schoolers and returned as young people ready for the experience of Middle School. It was a beautiful thing to see. Love & light!

"Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad;
let the sea resound, and all that is in it.
Let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them;
let all the trees of the forest sing for joy.
Let all creation rejoice before the Lord, for he comes,
he comes to judge the earth. 
He will judge the world in righteousness
and the peoples in his faithfulness."

~Psalm 96:11-13