Gettysburg Visitor Center
Robert Wilburn, President
Post Office Box 3997
Gettysburg, PA 17325
August 1, 2008
Dear Mr. Wilburn,
My wife and I spent our spring vacation absorbing as much history as possible. Our vacation started on May 7th and we stayed in Centerville, Virginia for four days. While there we visited the Manassas Battlefield and many of the battlefield sites in Prince William County. The county has done a great job of identifying and marking the sites. We also visited the WW II and FDR Monuments and the Natural History Museum in Washington D.C.
We have been anxiously awaiting the opening of the new museum at Gettysburg. We were there in May and September of last year and saw the progress of the building. We had the opportunity to visit on May 13, 2008. My wife and I and two friends arrived shortly after 10:00 AM after driving up from Winchester, Virginia, where we were staying. Upon entering the building we were approached by a staff person telling us about the great movie in the visitors center. She said it was a new twenty-minute movie and she really encouraged us to see it. The admission fee of eight dollars was pretty steep…for that price I could see the new Indiana Jones movie twice, at that time of day. We all decided that since we were there and it may be a while before we would return to Gettysburg, we would pay the eight dollars and see the movie. The movies at Manassas and the one we saw at Antietam were only three dollars and they were well made and enjoyable. With this in mind we figured this would be even better.
Much to our surprise and horror, the first five or so minutes of the movie was all about how slavery started the war! We thought we were there to see a worthwhile film about the battle of Gettysburg. Instead, we were subjected to the idea that all Southern slave owners mistreated their slaves, which is the reason the war started. Why was this in a movie about Gettysburg? Just about the time I was ready to leave and request my money back, the movie changed into the history of the battle. As the film was nearing the end, it reverted back to the slavery issue, Civil Rights Movement and even included a picture of Martin Luther King!!! How did Martin Luther King, in any remote way, have anything to do with the Battle of Gettysburg or the War Between the States??? Why didn’t the movie producers just go ahead and include Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson?
The new Gettysburg movie is just as tragic as the war itself! The Gettysburg Visitor Center had a great opportunity to teach thousands of children and adults about the actual issues that spurred the war. Instead of the real reasons for the war they will see this trash and believe it, because they saw it at Gettysburg!
I think it is time to replace those that had anything to do with this movie and bring back the people that can tell the whole story without fabricating what they think the people of America should see.
I was also very disappointed with the darkened maze concept that was used to design the museum, not knowing where you were and when you would find the end. I sure hope this is not the new approach that has been adopted to display the artifacts and war relics.
The National Park Service at Gettysburg has lost the integrity and trusts given them by the people of this country and should be held accountable for this slander of the truth.
You have seen fit to brainwash the young of country and everyone that sees this film. I talk to many history groups during the year and I have already spread the word about the changes that have been made at the Gettysburg Visitors Center and will continue to do so! I will also use e-mail to see to it that the my fellow Compatriots, Skirmishers, Daughters, re-enactors, friends, relatives and historians are made aware of the path the National Park Service has seen fit to take.
In response to your request for a donation and to preserve my name and address on the Founder Honor Roll, I will NOT donate or be involved in any way with this pack of lies and deceit that your organization has so well orchestrated.
Disappointed in the South!
John A. Sharrett, III
There needs to be more outrage like this, and more letters like this. I too visited "the barn" – 2 months ago. I did not pay the $8, thankfully, to see the movie. What I saw was enough to make my stomach turn. The park service has used out tax dollars to portray us in the worst possible light, a light which misleads at best and is an outright lie at worst. This is a forerunner of what is to come. I have been warning about it for 6 years now. Wait until they get started with the 150th anniversary of the war in 2011. You ain’t seen nothing yet.
I typed my letter the instant I read this! It will go out in the mail tomorrow. I’ve also forwarded to every person I know per e-mail. What an outrage!!!
It may seem an odd thing to say, but, everyone needs to visit the place. Seeing it first hand just may cause you to yell out the window, "I’m mad as hell and I ain’t gonna take it any more!"