If you’ve ever heard anyone say “What is the point of learning about the past? I’m living in the present!”, you certainly wouldn’t be the first! As citizens living in the 21st century, it can sometimes be difficult to wrap our heads around what life was like decades or centuries before we ever walked this Earth. However, it’s important to remember that the actions of people in the past are what caused things to be as they are in the present.
While there's plenty of primary sources, books, and documentaries that can help people study history, there are various other ways we can honor history as well. At Gettysburg Sentinels, we take a different approach. We take history in the form of discarded witness and battlefield trees and craft them into functional wooden pieces. Whether picking up one of our executive pens or corking a bottle of wine with our bottle stoppers, you will be holding a piece of American history.
Let's examine just why it’s so important to preserve history, how Gettysburg Sentinels honors the history of the Battle of Gettysburg, and how you can support our business.
The importance of preserving history: Standing on the Shoulders of Giants
They say that insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. If we know that this is the case, why wouldn’t we learn about the experiences of the past? We are the product of thousands and thousands of years of human history. If we stand upon the shoulders of those who came and learned before us, then we can add on to their contributions and improve the living conditions and quality of life for the human race.
While the topic of vaccinations has become divisive as of late, one of the most obvious examples of others relying on history for improvements is with science and medicine. For example, the World Health Organization was able to declare smallpox eradicated in 1980 due in part to the widespread vaccination use. However, methods for protection against smallpox existed as early as the 900s in Africa and Asia, and was passed to people in Europe and North America. This knowledge helped Edward Jenner in the late 1700s create the first real smallpox vaccine, which was then refined in the 1880s. Using the knowledge learned from the past has helped improve the health of those living in the 21st century.
Another example would be the discovery of the Rosetta Stone. When the stone was discovered during the Napoleonic Wars and brought back to the British Museum in London, Jean-Francois Champollion was able to study drawings of the hieroglyphs and inscriptions and eventually was able to translate the names and edicts of the pharaohs. His ability to crack the code has allowed other archeologists and Egyptologists to study and learn more about ancient Egypt. However, none of this would have been possible without the preservation of the Rosetta Stone. This goes to show just how important it is to preserve history to further the knowledge of those who live in the present and future.
Our unique approach
While our company might not being eradicating diseases or translating ancient writing, the purpose of our company is still the same: We aim to preserve the memory of those who fought during a significant battle in American history: The three-day Battle of Gettysburg. The Gettysburg National Military Park preserves the history of the battle in its own ways by doing things like maintaining the battlefield and housing exhibits with artifacts. However, we preserve the history in a different way: We use the wood from trees harvested in the area to create handcrafted wooden pieces that you can use in your home or office.
We pride ourselves in taking wood from companies who are contracted by the park to remove dead, diseased, or damaged trees and make the wood into something meaningful. The owner of our company - Greg Allen - spends his time crafting and engraving the wood in a way that lets it tell its own story. That’s why any item purchased from our shop - from letter openers and executive pens, to magnifying glasses and key fobs - is a unique, practical piece that allows you to hold a bit of history in your hand.
The impact we've had so far
Although our formation was only a few years ago, our efforts are already planting a strong foundation of impacting our local community. Our ability to ship across the country helps us make this impact national! Thank you for helping to ensure that the memory of these soldiers and their actions is not forgotten.
Gettysburg Sentinels customer Bob Perrotta describes his James Longstreet Witness Tree Paperweight as a “fascinating gift” with “beautiful workmanship”.
How to support Gettysburg Sentinels
There are various ways that those who agree with our mission can support Gettysburg Sentinels. While the most obvious way is to patronize our shop, there are other ways to support our company, too.
Spread the word
Have a history buff in your life? Satisfied with your purchases? Then please share your experience with others!
Follow us on social media
You can find us on Facebook where we regularly announce new products and are creating an active community of like-minded people
Comment on our blog entries:
Love woodworking, Gettysburg, or learning more about history? Curious about what we’re doing? Have an opinion on one of our entries? Then comment on our blogs! We love to swap stories and ask or answer questions about our products and the Battle of Gettysburg!
History in your hands
It’s apparent that preserving history is in the best interest for all eight billion of us who currently make up the human race. Learning about history allows us to acknowledge mistakes and improve on ideas. However, preservation doesn’t just have to come in the form of traditional primary sources; preservation can also come from taking from the old and turning it into something new.
There are many ways to help support us in our preservation of the past. While we’d love for your to purchase pieces from our shop, you can also spread the word on social media; donate to our company; or volunteer for our organization. Together we can help preserve the past in the present and for the future.
Take a look at our unique hand-crafted items made from the wood of the Battle of Gettysburg. Each piece is made with care and attention to detail and is a perfect addition to any history enthusiast's collection. They also make wonderful gifts!
Order now and own a piece of history!