War Games

This past Memorial Day weekend, Mark Peterson visited Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, to document the pilgrimage of tourists and self-professed patriots to the site of the 1863 Civil War conflict that killed or wounded over 51,000 people. In some ways, that war still isn’t over.

OVER THE PAST FEW YEARS, the United States has seen fierce, sometimes violent debates over the existence of Confederate flags and monuments across the South, proving that history can be hard to get past … if one can deem it “history” at all.

“The election turned on race and economics, which is what the Civil War was fought over,” says Peterson. “We haven’t moved beyond this as a country. The notion of red state and blue states is just blue and gray.”

The site where President Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address.
A Gettysburg Battlefield Tours bus passes through the national military park.
"Everyone has to try and get along and understand other opinions," says Eddy Roberts of Bridgeport, Texas.
A sign in a store window in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.
Members of the 10th Virginia Infantry, “The Southern Grays,” demonstrate firing muskets to visitors at Gettysburg.
Janet Arone, in black, and other members of the Dixie Rose Relief Society pose in period costume during Memorial Day weekend.
Reenactors stop for breakfast at the McDonald’s in Gettysburg.
“Political correctness is going to make us have a race war. Nobody’s allowed to just think for themselves.”
—Janet Arone
Member of the Black Pistons Motorcycle Club stand at the foot of the stairs of the Pennsylvania State Memorial that commemorates the more than 34,000 soldiers from Pennsylvania who fought in the battle.
Abraham Lincoln statue at the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum and Visitor Center.
Tim Hodge of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, as Major Martin Robinson Delany, who served in the 52nd Regiment of the U.S. Colored Infantry.
“For some reason man has lost faith in his fellow man. Somehow, someway, we have to get back to understanding each other and helping one another.”
—Tim Hodge
The Artillery Ridge Campground.
Abrigail Jozefowicz, 10, as Corporal Joseph Pierce of the 14th Connecticut Volunteer Infantry, who is thought to have been brought to the U.S. as a slave before being later freed and fighting at Gettysburg.
The Battery D, 1st Pennsylvania Light Artillery reenactors conduct an artillery display on the Gettysburg Battlefield. The battery lost more men to disease than battle.
“I think we can’t come together without seeing our mistakes we made in the past and fixing those mistakes and taking responsibility for them.”
—Abrigail Jozefowicz
Robin Jackson, of Altoona, Pennsylvania.
“Equality for everyone in every way—that will bring the country together.”
—Robin Jackson

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