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Park Hosts Sesquicentennial Commemoration Of Battle

Manassas National Battlefield Park

National Park News

A large crowd gathered in the park yesterday to mark the 150th anniversary of the Battle of First Manassas.

 “This is where American democracy began its baptism by fire,” said Director Jon Jarvis.  “Where the grueling four-year journey that shaped a nation, began in earnest.  The battle of Manassas dispelled the myth that the war would be a quick affair.”

Director Jarvis, Virginia Governor Robert F. McDonnell, and Dr. Edward L. Ayers, president of the University of Richmond, addressed the crowd at the second signature event of the NPS’s Civil War Sesquicentennial.   The ceremony, which opened four days of events and programs, was sponsored by the NPS and the Virginia Sesquicentennial of the American Civil War Commission.  The ceremony also included direct descendants of a family who witnessed the battle and modern military units whose predecessors fought on opposing sides. 

The enemy yesterday was the weather.  Preparations paid off and there were no major medical incidents despite a heat index of 110 degrees.  Numerous partners and volunteers made the day successful.

Director Jarvis concluded his presentation with a powerful reminder of our mission.  “For it is not simply a battlefield that we preserve here,” he said.  “It is our birthright as a nation, purchased at an unimaginable cost, and one that we will care for with all the reverence it demands.” 

The full text of the director’s remarks can be found under "Documents" at the link below.


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