Prince of Peace Church in Gettysburg is unique to the area. “It is Gettysburg’s only church dedicated to the memory of soldiers of both sides of the Civil War, and contains more than 150 memorial tablets, stones and plaques,” said Parishioner Jim Thomas. “The parish began the memorial process in 1880 with a nationwide campaign encouraging veterans and family members to recognize their comrades and loved ones by placing memorials in its future church. These memorials were done as memorials to veterans of the north and the south. And as a way to raise money for the church.”
While preparing for the 125th anniversary of the laying of the church’s cornerstone, which took place on July 2, 1888, Parishioner Jim Thomas discovered that 21 memorials were missing.
“A number of the memorials had been destroyed when the church caught fire in 1970, and others were just missing,” said Thomas.
Thomas compared original documents, receipts, and other paperwork. Thomas then designed the “missing memorials” and had new ones made using black granite. “The church didn’t hesitate on filling their obligation of replacing these memorials even though they are way out of their timeframe,” said Thomas.
“They’re veterans. A lot of these guys were killed in action and the memorials state it. And they need to be there,” said Thomas.
From the church:
Installation of the “missing memorials” is one of several projects marking the 125th anniversary. A series of concerts is scheduled throughout the year, and a Special Service of Commemoration and Rededication will take place at 9 a.m. on June 30, the Sunday closest to the anniversary date. On the actual anniversary, July 2, Prince of Peace will open its doors from Noon until 7.p.m. for visitors to view its memorials, old and new.