July 1st is the 143rd anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg. Regular Garfield Ridge readers may recall my visit to the battlefield last year, when I hiked the ground of Pickett's Charge.
July 1st is also the 90th anniversary of the first day of the Battle of the Somme.
The first day on the Somme, 1 July 1916, was the opening day of the British and French offensive that became the Battle of the Somme. The middle day of the middle year of the First World War, it is remembered as the bloodiest day in the history of the British Army when 57,470 men became casualties of which 19,240 were killed or died of wounds. . .
For many people, the first day has come to represent the futility and sacrifice of the war, with lines of infantry being mowed down by German machine guns. While the first day marked the beginning of four and a half months of attrition, it has always overshadowed the days that followed.
War is a terrible thing, whether it's 1863, 1916, or 2006.