The Civil War Trust has been very busy as of late, marching forward on all fronts of preservation. Just several weeks ago, the Trust, along with many other preservation organizations in the Shenandoah Valley took a moment to reflect on the preservation successes at the battlefield of First Kernstown. If have not had a moment to read of the day’s ceremony and events, check out our coverage of the event: Scenes of Success from Kernstown.
April 1, 2017 marked another annual event of the Trust and many other historic sites all across the country, Park Day. Writes the Civil War Trust, “For the 21st straight year, history buffs, community leaders, preservationists and other volunteers will fan[ned] out across more than 130 historic sites in 30 states for a spring cleanup at America’s battlefield sites and other historic treasures, armed with trash bags, rakes, weed whackers and paint brushes.”
“This year’s diverse group of Park Day sites [gave] volunteers a multitude of options in location, project scope and historical background. Through its Campaign 1776 initiative, the Civil War Trust has expanded Park Day to include Revolutionary War and War of 1812 sites. Participants from Gettysburg to Guilford Courthouse and Perryville to Princeton will have the opportunity to keep America’s hallowed grounds and outdoor classrooms pristine.
‘Park Day volunteers are critically important to historic sites that must balance basic maintenance needs with limited budgets and small staffs – that may result in deferred repairs and neglect,’ said Civil War Trust President James Lighthizer. ‘Visitors really do notice the difference after our legions of volunteers pitch in and clean up!’
Since 1996, thousands of community-minded citizens – including Boy and Girl Scouts, Rotarians, Lions Club members, church groups, ROTC units, youth groups and many others – have taken part in Park Day. Activities can include building trails, raking leaves, painting signs, putting up fences and contributing to site interpretation. In addition to the satisfaction that volunteer work brings, participants receive official Park Day T-shirts and may have the chance to hear local historians describe the history of the site.
In 2016, 130 sites throughout the country held Park Day events, with the help of nearly 6,000 volunteers who donated more than 24,000 man-hours of work. Every freshly painted fence or newly planted tree leaves each site better prepared for the tourists who will visit this year to learn more about their national heritage.”
As volunteers worked at Cedar Mountain and elsewhere, the Civil War Trust also held a Generations event on April 1 as a way to inspire the next generation to take up history as a life-long passion. The Generations event was an opportunity to “Share your passion for history with your child, niece, grandson or friends,” wrote the Trust. Sponsored by the Civil War Trust and the National Park Service, the day’s activities were held at Manassas National Battlefield. Participants. were able to “Choose [their] side, get in line and march in the footsteps of [their] ancestors on the very ground where these and countless other human events transpired. Some lucky kids…even [got] to don the uniforms of their choice!” “As always,” wrote organizers of the Generations day, “our ‘Cadet Conference’ format employ[ed] hands-on activities and stresse[d] teamwork, leadership, ethics and responsibility lessons as the fighting, photos and fascinating evolution of Manassas National Battlefield [came] to life.”