Gettysburg Fraternities and ROTC Students Work on Battlefield Beautification
By Sarah Kirkpatrick, Staff Writer
In these tight budgetary times, the National Park Service had struggled to find a work force to clear brush from around the Eternal Peace Light Memorial on the Gettysburg Battlefield until Alpha Chi Rho, Alpha Omicron Pi, and the ROTC program offered to help. On Saturday, October 21, over 80 Gettysburg students from these organizations donated three hours of their time to work on park beautification efforts and learn more about the historical importance of preserving this battlefield.
Park Service employees divided the volunteers into two groups – the Union and Confederate teams – and educated them about the battle that took place. “Each group learned about generals from each army during the Battle of Gettysburg,” explained Alpha Chi Rho President Ned Hughes, “Students learned about the early lives of these leaders and how they became generals in the Confederate/Union Armies. The group also discussed the meaning of leadership in great depth.”
The Eternal Peace Light Memorial was an ideal place for this service because its surrounding brush had been allowed to grow unchecked for years, which compromised the aesthetic appearance of the monument and historical experience of visitors. The Peace Light was created to celebrate the armistice between North and South and dedicated by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1938 to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the battle.
The Park relies on volunteers to help preserve the monument’s beauty and profound message, so Gettysburg students accepted the challenge.
“The event was created…as a way for Greek Organizations and other campus organizations to give back to the community,” said Hughes, “This is the first time that Alpha Chi Rho has participated in a community service event as large as this one.”
Editor’s Note: All photos courtesy of Ned Hughes, an event participant. (B. Pontz)