The past week has been absolutely insane with all the day trips we took. In between all those trips we were in class, taking tests, and studying. Thankfully this week are going absolutely nowhere and having 6 straight days of classes. I would have never thought I'd think of that as a blessing, but having a minute to write down my thoughts is wonderful.
Last Monday we took a bus to Sangimignano which is a small ancient tower
city in the middle of the beautiful Tuscan countryside.
We stopped to look at
the cathedral there which has some very graphic depictions of hell in the
frescos on the walls and ceiling. After some leisurely shopping we all loaded
back on the bus to head for Sienna. Sienna
is famous for the horse races it holds in its city square, and although they
weren’t going on, we got to see where they take place. Sienna also boasts a
very large cathedral that was built in the medieval ages. What’s so neat about
this building is that even though the church is huge, there are large pillars
where they planned to expand to allow for growth in the future. Unfortunately
before the actual additions could be completed, the Black Death hit and the
work was never finished. Again it’s so awesome to look at something like this
and feel like part of that corner of history.
After more shopping we crowded our tired bodies back onto the bus for a
quick Memorial Day ceremony before heading back to Scandicci. We went to one of
the many American Cemeteries in Italy that are dedicated to the American soldiers
that fought and died in Italy. The one we went to was specifically for WWII
soldiers, and I think I felt the biggest part of history here, as I walked
around thinking about all the brave men and women who fought for our freedoms
in America. Traveling overseas has taught me that God’s children live
everywhere, and that Americans have a very “American mindset” and that we
should really get out of our bubbles to appreciate the world, but there is
something to be said for fighting for God and country. I can’t help but feel
pride when I remember all the people who have fought to give me the life I now
live today. As we rode home I remembered the words of Abraham Lincoln in his Gettysburg
address so long ago.
“Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent,
a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all
men are created equal.
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any
nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great
battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as
a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation
might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate -- we can not consecrate -- we
can not hallow -- this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled
here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The
world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never
forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated
here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly
advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining
before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that
cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here
highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation,
under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the
people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”