Friday, January 16, 2009

Not the First Time...

The recent defacement of the Eternal Peace Light Memorial at Gettysburg is an event that has outraged the historian community. The restoration effort will most likely take thousands of dollars and hundreds of work hours to complete. Despite the anger over this recent incident, vandalism and theft have been a common occurrence on the battlefield, well...since 1863. The Peace Light has not been spared in the past either. Just today, I was informed of some old photos in the collection of the The Center for Civil War Photography, which shows scenes of other vandalism on the monument. I highly encourage you to visit their website and explore the fantastic collection of Civil War photos.

The majority of the following black and white pictures were taken in the 1940s. By examining the photos, you would think that people would have more reverence for such sacred objects, especially during World War II. It just goes to show that there are inconsiderate people in all places and eras of history.

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3143/3027793499_0a7ae9b45b.jpg?v=0
A view from the Peace Light in 1948. Peaceful, isn't it?

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3280/3027789755_d73d4168d5.jpg?v=0
However, many tourists wrote their names on the monument...

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3026/3027789509_84268983ae.jpg?v=0
Now, what would make people treat this monument as if it were a
gas station bathroom wall? Your guess is as good as mine.


http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3237/3027788321_1a736200ed.jpg?v=0
Hmm. Apparently, people were not worried about prosecution. Writing a name is one thing, but your address too? Now, Johnstown, PA is only an hour away from my home. Perhaps I will look up Ms. Gloria Sweeny and ask her what she was thinking!


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