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Humility

Men who wore the Blue and men who wore the Gray are here together, a fragment spared by time. They are brought here by the memories of old divided loyalties, but they meet here in united loyalty to a united cause which the unfolding years have made it easier to see.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt 
75th Anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg
July 3, 1938

It is often difficult to see beyond old loyalties; to look outside our own beliefs and seek to understand another point of view.  

To do so requires selflessness. Empathy. Humility.

Speaking at the dedication of Gettysburg’s Eternal Light Peace Memorial on the 75th anniversary of the battle, President Roosevelt recognized the humility of the Civil War veterans in attendance. Once divided in their devotions, they now stood together for the cause of “Peace Eternal in a Nation United.”  

The lessons of Gettysburg remind us of the importance of selfless service necessary to advance the greater good:

  • In his enduring Gettysburg Address, President Lincoln does not boast of a Union victory or malign the Confederacy. Rather, he offers hope for a “new birth of freedom.” 
  • Lincoln encourages people to find a way to resolve the challenges of ‘this unfinished work’.
  • He emphasizes the service of others by stating that the world “can never forget what they did here.” 

Gettysburg humbles us. It reminds us of the sacrifice of thousands of lives for a cause greater than themselves. It reminds us of selfless acts. It strengthens our willingness to set aside differences. It teaches us humility. 

It brings us together. 

This is Gettysburg Revisited. 

Daughters of Charity

An order of Catholic nuns headquartered in nearby Emmitsburg, Maryland, the Daughters of Charity served as nurses at hospitals in both the North and the South during the Civil War.

 

Exemplifying the “virtues of humility, modesty and charity,” a small group of the Daughters of Charity, along with Chaplain Father Francis Burlando, traveled to Gettysburg to care for wounded soldiers following the three-day battle. In Gettysburg, the Sisters served at the makeshift hospital sites including the St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church on High Street.


Understaffed and short on supplies, the Sisters worked tirelessly in caring for the wounded soldiers under the most trying of conditions.
 

In recognition of the Daughters of Charity and their selfless efforts at St Xavier, the Parish provided a lasting tribute – a stained glass window depicting the Sisters at work as nurses.

 

Revisit Gettysburg and explore the humbling sites you may have missed the first time.

Revisit & Reimagine Gettysburg

Revisit Gettysburg and take another look at the sites and messages of humility you may have missed the first time:

Eternal Light Peace Memorial

In a symbolic and humble moment of "united loyalty," two 91-year old Union and Confederate veterans unveiled the Eternal Light Peace Memorial at the 75th anniversary of the battle in 1938.

 

4th Michigan Infantry

One of the many tributes to volunteers and their selflessness and sacrifice.

The monument marks the spot where Colonel Harrison H. Jeffords fell while attempting to recover the 4th Michigan’s colors.

Fittingly, the monument features a colors bearer. 

Soldiers' National Cemetery

The Gettysburg Address Memorial: Dedicated to the speech rather than the eloquent speaker, the memorial recognizes Lincoln’s immortal address and its humble message of sacrifice and preservation of our democracy

Veterans from both sides of the battle returned to Gettysburg in 1913 to honor the fallen, reminisce with their friends and extend their hands to their former enemies over fences where they once fired.