For Immediate Release: 03/10/02
Spirit of Volunteerism Alive at America's Hallowed Civil War Battlegrounds
Nonprofit battlefield group encourages volunteers to join a national preservation event on April 6th.
(Washington, D.C.) - The American Civil War began as a struggle between armies of untrained but enthusiastic volunteers. More than a century later, another army of volunteers is about to descend on this nation's storied Civil War battlefields - only this array of dedicated men and women will be armed with paint brushes, trash bags and weed whackers.
On Saturday, April 6th, the Civil War Preservation Trust (CWPT) and The History Channel will team up with history buffs and conservationists of all ages to clean and restore Civil War-related battlefields, cemeteries and shrines. The nationwide effort - dubbed Park Day - will include more than 85 historic sites in 21 states.
"America's Civil War sites are often the victims of their own popularity," noted CWPT President James Lighthizer. "Without proper maintenance, battlefields can suffer from the ravages of both time and neglect. Our goal is to spruce up these links to America's past so they can be enjoyed by all."
Now in its sixth year, Park Day is an annual hands-on preservation event created by CWPT. This year's theme is "Our Parks, Our Past, Our Pride." Volunteers are encouraged to gather at designated Civil War sites to help with routine repairs and maintenance. Activities can range from raking leaves and hauling trash to painting signs and trail building. In exchange for their hard work, participants receive t-shirts and have an opportunity to hear local historians describe the significance of the site.
Among the sites that will be benefiting from Park Day activities are Antietam in Maryland, Averasboro in North Carolina, Stones River in Tennessee, and Manassas in Virginia. "On these hallowed fields, our ancestors made the ultimate sacrifice for freedom. We would be dishonoring their memory if we allowed these sites to fall victim to decay and neglect," remarked Lighthizer.
With 38,000 members, CWPT is the largest nonprofit battlefield preservation organization in the United States. Its goal is to preserve our nation's endangered Civil War sites and to promote appreciation of these hallowed grounds through education and heritage tourism. CWPT's website is located at www.civilwar.org.