Readshaw's annual Gettysburg Monuments Ball successful
State Rep. Harry Readshaw, D-Allegheny, declared the 12th annual Preservation Ball held last month in the Capitol Rotunda in Harrisburg was "a complete and unconditional success."
Rep. Readshaw said this year's ball included more than 175 attendees from as far away as Iowa and Texas; most of the ladies wearing period gowns and gentlemen donning period civilian or military attire.
Sponsored by the Victorian Dance Ensemble of the Civil War Dance Foundation, the ball benefits the Pennsylvania Gettysburg Monuments Project, which Mr. Readshaw founded in 1997 after reading about the deterioration of the more than 1,000 monuments in the Gettysburg National Military Park.
Pennsylvania has more than 140 unit monuments and markers on the battlefield including the iconic Pennsylvania Memorial. They mark the locations of the Pennsylvania regiments during the three-day battle of July 1863, pay tribute to the bravery and sacrifice of the units, and recognize the special actions of individual soldiers and officers, many of whom lost their lives.
Most were erected by the veteran survivors of the battle, assisted by allocations from the Pennsylvania General Assembly. Time, weather and human contact have caused damage to these monuments.
As they entered the Capitol Rotunda, ball attendees were greeted by the Boy Scouts of America Venture Crew 1861 Fife and Drum Corps portraying the Civil War Field Music of the 1st Pennsylvania Reserve Volunteer Corps. The group also provided music during the intermission.
Civil War-era music for the event was supplied by the Philadelphia Brigade Band, under the direction of Richard Cummines. The 19-member brass ensemble was attired in Union Army uniforms.
Rep. Readshaw welcomed the crowd and introduced James Getty, portraying President Abraham Lincoln who greeted the guests by thanking them for "rallying to the call for support." Gettysburg National Military Park Superintendent Ed Clark, his wife Heidi, and son Reid, all in period clothing, were presented as well as state Rep. Dan Moul, who represents the area which includes the Gettysburg Battlefield, and his wife Lori.
Gettysburg Foundation President Joanne Hanley and her husband Matthew also attended in period attire.
Participants leading the Grand March to begin the ball included Mr. Readshaw, Mr. Clark, his wife and son.
"I am extremely pleased with the attendance, support and enthusiasm of all the participants, Civil War community and sponsors," Rep. Readshaw said. "Seeing the attendees in so many different period outfits brings the whole era to life.
"We pledge to continue our efforts to restore the Pennsylvania unit monuments at the Gettysburg Battlefield, providing resources that the National Parks Service may utilize for the repair and restoration of those monuments.
"They are what this is all about – why the Gettysburg Monuments Project exists: to preserve the 'icons of freedom' of the Gettysburg National Military Park for their generation and many more to come," Mr. Readshaw said. "The legacy of the Battle of Gettysburg and what brought our nation to those awful three days must always be remembered and respected."
Rep. Readshaw can be contacted about the Pennsylvania Gettysburg Monuments Project by calling his Harrisburg office at 717-783-0411, or by email at Gettysburg@pahouse.net.