For Immediate Release: 08/13/10
Civil War Preservation Trust Applauds American Legion Condemnation of Proposed Gettysburg Casino
Nation's largest veteran's group calls possibility of gambling on battlefield's doorstep "a disgrace"
(Washington, D.C.) – The American Legion has joined the growing ranks of those opposed to a gambling casino just ½ mile from Gettysburg National Military Park. In a statement released yesterday, American Legion National Commander Clarence E. Hill described the casino proposal as “a disgrace.” Civil War Preservation Trust president James Lighthizer issued the following statement in support of the American Legion’s powerful message:
“On behalf of the Civil War Preservation Trust and its thousands of members, I applaud the strong statement issued yesterday by the American Legion. The Legion’s condemnation of the proposal to construct a casino so close to our nation’s most hallowed battleground underscores the outrage many Americans feel about the plan to place slots just a few thousand feet from the scene of indescribable suffering nearly 150 years ago.
“Experiencing the heat of battle is a tie that binds all generations of America’s fighting men and women — whenever and wherever they served. The denunciation of an internationally respected veteran’s advocacy organization, such as the American Legion, lends additional credence to our long-standing belief that proposing a casino so close to this hallowed ground fundamentally conflicts with Gettysburg’s essential and indelible place in American history.”
The American Legion joins a growing list of organizations and individuals opposed to the idea of a Gettysburg casino including the Civil War Preservation Trust, National Parks Conservation Association, National Trust for Historic Preservation, Preservation Pennsylvania, Philadelphia Inquirer, and Scranton Times-Tribune. In July, more than 275 historians — including Pulitzer Prize-winners James McPherson and Garry Wills and Emmy Award-winning documentarian Ken Burns — signed a letter to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control condemning a gambling den within musket shot of the battlefield.
Although the proposed casino site along the Emmitsburg Road lies outside the current administrative boundaries of Gettysburg National Military Park, it would be on land identified as historically sensitive by the American Battlefield Protection Program, an arm of the National Park Service. The application before the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board would retrofit an existing family-friendly hotel complex into a gambling resort with an initial 600 slot machines, in addition to table games.
The Civil War Preservation Trust encourages concerned citizens to register to speak or submit written comments for the upcoming hearing on the issue by simply visiting: www.speakforthefallen.com or www.civilwar.org/nocasino
With 55,000 members, the Civil War Preservation Trust is the largest nonprofit battlefield preservation organization in the United States. Its mission is to preserve our nation’s remaining Civil War battlefields and encourage their appreciation through education and heritage tourism. Since 1987, the organization has saved more than 29,000