Eternal Light Peace Memorial – Still Burning

Day 57 of Colourisation Project – July 3

Challenge: to publish daily a colourised photo that has some significance around the day of publication.

On July 3, 1938, the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg, U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt unveiled and dedicated the Eternal Light Peace Memorial to mark the spirit of reconciliation between the North and the South. Symbolically, the eternal flame was lit at Gettysburg Battlefield. A 40 foot shaft rising above an elevated rectangular platform on the summit of Oak Hill, overlooking the Gettysburg National Military Park is the nation’s premier monument to national reconciliation after the Civil War.

F D Rooselvelt

Photographer Vincenzo Laviosa ~ Franklin Delano Roosevelt circa 1932 ~ Coloured by Loredana Crupi

On the same location 25 years earlier in 1913, on the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg, Woodrow Wilson, declared “the quarrel forgotten.” Thousands of Civil War veterans shook hands at the High Water Mark for cameras. There was healing in the widespread wave of nationalism sweeping the United States.

During the ceremony, a Union veteran and a Confederate veteran ignited the eternal flame at the top of the shaft. The gas-lit flame which is visible from 32 kilometers (20 miles) away was extinguished during WWII and during the energy crisis in 1973. The eternal flame burned until 1979 when it was replaced by an electric flame. It was relit in 1988 during the 125th anniversary of the battle.

Attendance for the memorial’s dedication at the 1938 Gettysburg reunion was 250,000; with more than 1,800 Civil War veterans. A further 100,000 attempted to attend but failed to arrive due to congested roads.

76 years later the flame is still burning.


“All of them we honor, not asking under which Flag they fought then – thankful that they stand together under one Flag now.”   –Franklin Delano Roosevelt

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