Gettysburg, Pennsylvania (JFK+50) Seventy-seven years ago today, July 3, 1938, President Franklin D. Roosevelt journeyed by train from Hyde Park to Gettysburg, site of the battle which is known as the turning point of the Civil War, to participate in the 75th anniversary ceremonies of the Battle of Gettysburg and dedication of the Eternal Light Peace Monument.
1800 Union and Confederate veterans attended the event and were lodged in an encampment located between Gettysburg College and Oak Ridge. The youngest veteran was 88 years old while the oldest "claimed to be" 112.
An estimated 250,000 people attended the ceremony with an additional 100,000 stuck in traffic attempting to get there.
Before the unveiling of the monument and lighting the Eternal Light of Peace, the President of the United States gave a nine minute speech in which he said...
"Immortal deeds and...words have created here a shrine of American patriotism. We are encompassed by 'the last full measure of devotion' of many men and by the words in which Abraham Lincoln explained the simple faith for which they died.
For the issue which he restated on this spot 75 years ago will be the continuing issue before this nation so long as we cling to the purposes for which it was founded--to preserve under changing conditions of each generation a people's government for the people's good.
Men who wore the Blue and...the Gray are here together...brought here by the memories of old divided loyalties, but they meet here in united loyalty to a united cause.
All of them we honor, not asking under which Flag they fought then -- thankful that they stand together under one Flag now."
At the conclusion of the President's speech, two veterans of the Battle of Gettysburg, one from each side, pulled the cords to remove a large American Flag covering the monument followed by two more veterans representing each side lighting the Peace Light.
The Eternal Light, located on Oak Hill, is fueled by gas tanks buried under the ground. Since the 1980s, natural gas has been used as the fuel source.
Among the words engraved on the monument are these...
"Peace Eternal in a Nation United"
"Eternal Light Peace Memorial Dedication Ceremony," www.gettysburgdaily.com/
"Speech of the President, Gettysburg, July 3, 1938," www.gettysburgdaily.com
LEE'S ARMY TURNED BACK ON CEMETERY RIDGE
Gettysburg, Pennsylvania (JFK+50) On the third day of the battle fought here at Gettysburg 152 years ago today, July 3, 1863, between the United States Army of the Potomac and the Confederate States Army of Northern Virginia, General Robert E. Lee ordered 15,000 men under General George Pickett to charge up Cemetery Ridge and take the Union position.
Pickett's soldiers, who were from Virginia. had not yet participated in the battle. The charge ended in disaster for the Confederacy as Pickett's lines were torn apart by rifle and cannon fire as they crossed a mile of open ground.
General Pickett would forever blame Lee for the failure of the charge. He would later say... "That old man had my division slaughtered."