Some see the outcome of the battle as a significant influence on modern civilization. Others got hooked on American history by watching John Wayne movies.
In the 150 years since the Civil War, the United States has played a central global role, said Anders Bo Rasmussen, a freelance journalist covering Gettysburg's 150th anniversary for Denmark's "Historie" magazine. What happens in this country affects what happens in that one, he said. "Go back to Battle of Gettysburg, then you would know that if the outcome of the battle perhaps had been a little bit different then world history would have shaped itself in a different way," Rasmussen said.
Maria Joergensen and Niels Meyer Juul-Hansen, a couple from Denmark, aren't just visitors, they're re-enactors themselves. Joergensen, five months pregnant, portrays a sketch artist and a general "lady" of the era. Juul-Hansen is acting as a politician and wartime correspondent.
They are in Gettysburg to honor Scandinavians who fought on both sides of the war, Joergensen said.
Although Juul-Hansen and Joergensen have participated in U.S. Civil War re-enactments in Denmark for several years - she since 2005, and he since 2010 - walking on the ground where the history was made is different, Juul-Hansen said.
"People are more involved here. Spectators ask more questions," he added.
Raymond Rammel is a musician re-enactor originally from Holland.
"I wanted to experience the real thing and I was very curious as well about how the Americans re-enacted their own past, as opposed to how European people do it, from more of an outsider perspective," he said.
In Europe, most people have at least heard of Gettysburg, Rammel said. The Civil War came to European attention through entertainment, especially TV shows and movies, he said.
"They triggered a lot of interest in the American history, the American West. I think this sort of spilled over to an interest in the Civil War," Rammel said. Re-enactments gained momentum in Europe in the 1980s and 1990s, he said.
For Peter Hasselby, a re-enactor from Newcastle, England, his time as a re-enactor began in 1978. His interest was born from Western movies, particularly John Wayne's "Horse Soldier."
Being in Gettysburg for the 150th anniversary is "amazing," he said.
A few days before the anniversary of the battle, Hasselby was walking at night in the living-history encampment when lightning bugs - which he had never seen before - illuminated a man lying on the ground.
"I thought, 'I'm trippin' here, I'm time traveling here,'" he said.
"That was a nightmare," he added, referring to the fact that, 150 years ago, the bodies of soldiers littered the same ground.
Amber South can be reached at email@example.com and 717-262-4771.