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Gettysburg Remembrance Day Parade and Ball

Posted on Friday, January 6, 2017 at 12:28 pm

SVR Military Ball dancers.

SVR Military Ball dancers.

The 60th annual Remembrance Day parade was held in downtown Gettysburg, PA with several thousand Civil War re-enactors and Civil War hereditary organizations participating. The downtown streets along the parade route were lined with thousands of spectators who enjoyed not only the parade but the sunny skies and warm temperature which was about 65 degrees.

The Civil War military parade is the highlight of the annual l Remembrance Day activities in Gettysburg commemorating the Gettysburg Address delivered by President Abraham Lincoln on November 19, 1863.   The Sons of Veterans Reserve (SVR) which is the military department of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War sponsors the parade which includes both Union and Confederate participants and is considered the largest Civil War military parade held in the United States.

The parade is always held on the Saturday nearest November 19th which is the date President Lincoln gave brief remarks during the dedication of the Gettysburg National Military Cemetery in 1863.  Those brief remarks honoring the soldiers, who fell during the 3 day battle at Gettysburg in July, 1863 are now referred to as the Gettysburg Address.  This year Remembrance Day just happened to fall on November 19th.

Each year the SVR concludes the Remembrance Day activities with a Civil War military Ball. The admission fees collected from the several hundred dancers attending the event are donated to the Gettysburg National Military Park for the preservation of both Union and Confederate monuments and memorials located in the park.

The funds from the Ball are presented each year to the Gettysburg National Military Park during a ceremony held at the Albert Woolson memorial located in Ziegler’s Grove on Hancock Avenue. The Auxiliary to the Sons of Union Veterans, with financial help from the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, erected a monument to Albert Woolson in 1956 honoring the Grand Army of the Republic.  Woolson was the last surviving member of the GAR and the last surviving member of the Union Army.

-By Robert Grimm