The Civil War Round Table of Gettysburg met online yet again last month. It’s not ideal, but we appreciate the helpfulness of our presenters, most recently, Dr. James Broomall of Shepherd University in Shepherdstown, West Virginia, author of “Private Confederacies: The Emotional Worlds of Southern Men as Citizens and Soldiers.” Under normal circumstances, we would have closed our gathering with a book signing. Of course, these are far from normal circumstances.

A social media meme has resonated with me: “2020: Written by Stephen King, Directed by Quentin Tarantino.” In no particular order, I’ve been appalled by the video of George Floyd’s murder; dismayed at scenes of rioting and looting; angered at the across-the-board opprobrium heaped on law enforcement; restless in stay-at-home quarantine, confused by conflicting information on the coronavirus; concerned about coming down with the virus myself (in my 70th year, with a history of respiratory problems, I am among the vulnerable); annoyed by those so indifferent to others that they won’t take the precaution of wearing a mask and mocking those who do; aggravated that the baseball players and owners can’t get their act together and play ball; concerned about the economic impact of the shutdown on small business, particularly here in Gettysburg; challenged by the responsibility of keeping the Round Table turning in the era of social distancing; hopeful that the demonstrations mark a new day in America’s tortured racial history; pessimistic that the demonstrations mark a new day in America’s tortured racial history; disappointed by the chaotic response of national leadership; dreading even more chaos on election day in November.

Bruce Davis is the president of Civil War Round Table of Gettysburg. He can be reached at

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