On a November day 157 years ago:
The little Pennsylvania hamlet is thumping like a bass drum. Out-of-town visitors are everywhere. They wear their Sunday best—stovepipe hats, frilly dresses, and buckled boots.
Rumor has it that the President just arrived by train. As in: the actual President. This truly is quite a day.
Roughly 15,000 spectators are gathering in a field around a small platform stage, which is now filled with important men in black suits. This land is being christened as a cemetery today.
But don’t look around this pasture too intently, it will chill your blood. And, for heaven’s sake, plug your nose. Rotting human corpses still litter this field by the scores. The stench is overpowering, and the visuals are even worse.
Only three months ago the Battle of Gettysburg happened upon this dirt. A conflict that resulted in 51,000 casualties. After the fight, some 8,000 human bodies were left unburied here, baking in the sun.
Locals have been dealing with carcasses for months now. At night the bonfires
can be seen all over the county.
As far as the nation’s political climate goes: America hates each other. In ways you cannot fathom.
People who once shared pews on Sundays are ramming bayonets into each other. Biological brothers are killing one another. Next-door neighbors are standing toe-to-toe on battlegrounds. About 750,000 will die before this war officially ends.
The keynote speaker today is Edward Everett. He is a ball of fire. He has a shock of white hair and a face that looks like he’s dealing with moderate to severe constipation. Organizers planned this whole shindig around his busy speaking schedule because he’s famous.
The President is also attending. He might say a few words.
The ceremony is madness. Crowds are milling in clumps. The fetid battlefield is nothing but cannonball divots and stink flies. This is an eerie place to be. Human remains are scattered everywhere.…