Monday, September 16, 2013

Conclusion: Reflections on Gettysburg

Conclusion of Internship: Gettysburg

My time at Gettysburg has drawn to a close, and after all is said and done, I can honestly say that my internship with the National Park Service has been an amazing experience. During the course of my time here, I have had the opportunity to work with incredible people, explore fascinating things, and learn a great deal about the National Park Service and myself.

I had the opportunity to enjoy several dream experiences while at Gettysburg National Battlefield Park. I lived on the battlefield in a beautiful, historic farmhouse where Pickett's Charge took place. I held historic relics from the battle that few people ever get to see. I also had the opportunity to educate visitors about the Battle of Gettysburg and its significance in history. This culminated in a chance to work with Interpretive Ranger Matt Atkinson during his televised tour of General Kershaw's South Carolina brigade. The tour was televised on the Pennsylvania Cable Network (PCN) and I was recorded on camera throughout the tour. This was a dream come true for me because I grew up watching the National Park Service tours of Gettysburg on PCN. Furthermore, I provided a variety of services to Ranger Atkinson on the tour, such as helping to answer tourists' questions, directing vehicle traffic around the group, and guiding people from one stop to another. A memorable moment for me was when I gave a battle flag that Ranger Atkinson brought along to a young girl to carry on the tour. She was so excited to be carrying it, that she smiled for the entire tour. Even by the tour's end, she did not want to give up that flag! The young girl reminded me of myself as a child and it made me feel good to know that I left her with a positive memory of Gettysburg.

Finally, I came away with many valuable lessons on what it means to be a great Law Enforcement Ranger. Great rangers know their job and their park; furthermore, they know their fellow rangers within the park and respect them. Whether it was a maintenance worker mowing grass or a biologist studying rivers, the Law Enforcement Rangers always showed appreciation for what they did within the park. In addition to this, I learned the value of integrity and why it is important to be honest and true in all that you do within a park. Say what you mean and mean what you say, and always carry out your tasks to the best of your ability. Good Law Enforcement Rangers keep their commitments and always put others welfare before their own. I hope that in my future career as a Law Enforcement Ranger, I can equal the great rangers that I had an opportunity of working with at Gettysburg. I will carry their memory with me long after this internship and look forward to meeting them again within the National Park Service.

Best Wishes and Many Thanks to everyone at Gettysburg National Military Park!

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