This week for three days, June 4 through June 6, leaders from across the country have gathered in Gettysburg for a summit to promote large scale national service, either military or civilian. The effort is known as the Franklin Project, after Ben Franklin, who believed service was central to our democracy. At the opening session, Ed W. Clark, Superintendent, Gettysburg National Military Park and Eisenhower National Historic Site, gave these remarks:
Good afternoon, I’m Ed Clark, superintendent of Gettysburg National Military Park and Eisenhower National Historic Site. Welcome. What a beautiful time of year to be here in the midst of this very special battlefield that represents defining moments in our nation’s history!
Volunteers formed the ranks of the armies who fought here, and citizen volunteers are a critical part of the Gettysburg story. These volunteers:
- responded to the aftermath of battle;
- cared for the wounded;
- helped the families who traveled here in search of their loved ones,
- took the first steps to preserve the battlefield created a burial ground nearby on Cemetery Hill.
As we’re losing members of the Greatest Generation, the stories of the Eisenhower National Historic Site, continue to remind us of their volunteerism and sacrifice, as well as the commitment of their families at home.
Today, citizen volunteers continue to be a vital part of the mission of the National Park Service, especially here at Gettysburg and Eisenhower. Volunteers inspire the public and help preserve these special places and our treasures.
Our volunteers serve for reasons made clear to us in Gettysburg in 1863. These reasons still resound today. They answer Lincoln’s challenge to never forget what they did here.
-Ed W. Clark, Superintendent, June 4, 2014