02 July 2012

General Armistead: Tribute Before Tomorrow

Remember this post?

I never wrote the biography/tribute I intended to.

No one has yet.

Walked away from West Point. Promoted for bravery in battle. Ruthless. Shy. Fearless. Undisciplined. Loyal. Tormented. Admired. Lonely.

There is a 60-page pamphlet on General Armistead. 60 pages. A pamphlet.

I contacted the author and told him I wanted to edit the full-length book when it's written. The general's story needs to be told.

(This was Richard Jordan's last role; and he gave it everything he had. It gained him—and Armistead—immortality in my mind at least.)

General Lewis Addison Armistead, descendant of American war heroes, will play a major role in Gettysburg's proceedings the Third Day. But you cannot understand the significance of his role without seeing this first:

Poignant. The general's torment is not his own but also that of every brother who fought against a brother, friend against a friend, mentor against student, boy against hero, son against father, in this gruesome war.

Did Michael Shaara and the makers of Gettysburg romanticize him? Yes; I've read the pamphlet. His life wasn't a blaze of glory, his actions not always worthy of esteem. But I think the storymakers got at his essence too; and, in some sense, at the essence of many men behind the war.

Check in tomorrow for the ending to his story.

If you have not seen this film yet, I'm sorry. Rent it. (Sorry, I can't lend it; my copy does not leave my possession.) It might take a couple days to watch. But it is worth your time. Music, cinematography, action, blood, acting, and story...it has it all. And it brings a whole new significance to the 4th of July, the meaning of independence and the heritage of the United States citizen.

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