By Ron Bateman
I love running. I’ve been blessed to run all over the world – from the dusty, chaotic streets of Delhi to the crisp, springtime of the Dalmatian Coast. Of all the places I’ve run the calm, rolling hills of the Gettysburg National Military Park has long been my favorite. The respectful solemnity of that space was (and has been upon reflection) the perfect place to run. After a week in Derry, Northern Ireland, though, I have yet to get out and run the streets of this historic, important city.
It was then, as I was running, that I came to the realization that we are in the middle of a battlefield that the casual traveler may never know. Its shape and character stand in stark contrast to those of the United States, replete with a visitor’s center and a crowded parking lot. To be certain, there are very visible signs, like the Bloody Sunday Memorial, but many are much less so, like a tiny plaque on the side of a building or an innocuous pile of flowers on the sidewalk on Shipquay Street.
I contemplate what it means to exist in it every day? As opposed to being removed from it, only to visit on occasion. Could you heal faster or would it be so much harder? Would it facilitate moving forward (individually and collectively) or keep you looking back? I don’t readily know the answers to these questions and myriad others. And I won't before I leave. But I do know I have to get out and go running…soon.