|Dedication of the Eternal Peace Monument at Gettysburg / 1938|
On July 3, 1938, the seventy-fifth anniversary of the battle of Gettysburg, President Franklin Roosevelt dedicated the Eternal Peace monument on McPherson's Ridge. It was covered by a fifty foot American flag that was removed by a Union and Confederate veteran of the battle who were both ninety-one years old. There is an eternal flame on top that burns twenty four hours a day. The flame was reduced to a pilot light during World War II and during the oil shortage of the early 1970's it was replaced by a light bulb. The flame was restored in the 1980's and still burns to this day. Jacqueline Kennedy saw the eternal flame on a visit which is where she got the idea for an eternal flame on the grave of her husband John Kennedy at Arlington. There were 1800 surviving veterans, both Union and Confederate, that were housed in an elaborate tent city that was on the site of the motel where we stayed in 2005. Most of these veterans were in their nineties and they were assisted by the Boy Scouts. The oldest veteran at the Eternal Peace Monument dedication was a black man who was 112 years old. Two hundred and fifty thousand people attended the dedication and another 100,000 people were stuck on roads leading into Gettysburg in a massive traffic jam.