Brian Frye

Observations at Gettysburg, 6 July 2002 (2002) black and white, 10 min

"Man is full of sin and nature, and all he does don't bear looking at, and a heap of what he says is a shame and a mawkery. But cant no witness hurt him. Some day something might beat him, but it wont be Satan." -- William Faulkner in "A Fable". The annual Civil War re-enactment at Gettysburg is one of the largest and best attended in the country. Why Gettysburg? Partly because -- rightly or not -- we take it as the moment at which the outcome of the struggle for America was most in doubt. But truly because the words Lincoln spoke there made of it that moment, framing the struggle in its starkest terms. And so these people who believe in America come to perform its redemption. It is a passion-play, really, a dramatic evocation of the cataclysm in which a young nation expiated its sins in blood, and was reborn.

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