Discover the historic impact of Abraham Lincoln, Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy and Franklin D. Roosevelt at Gettysburg

While The Battle of Gettysburg has always been the main attraction, there is a lesser-known aspect to the story of this historic and powerful place: the presidential side. Here, we explore four presidents whose presence can be felt at Gettysburg.

Presidential Locations for Students at Gettysburg

  • The Eternal Light Peace Memorial – The Eternal Light Peace Memorial was erected to commemorate the 1913 reunion for the 50th anniversary of the battle. On July 3, 1938, during the 75th anniversary of the battle, President Franklin D. Roosevelt dedicated it. After his heart-felt speech, the memorial was lit by one soldier from each side, signifying a continuity of peace between the two sides. This moving memorial served as inspiration for President John F. Kennedy’s grave at Arlington National Cemetery.
  • Gettysburg National Cemetery – Shortly after the Battle of Gettysburg, local attorney David Wills and others petitioned for a national cemetery in Gettysburg. After locals scrambled to bury the dead soldiers, the State of Pennsylvania purchased land along Baltimore Pike. After completion of the cemetery in 1864, President Abraham Lincoln traveled to Gettysburg to dedicate this hallowed ground.
  • The Eisenhower National Historic Site – After an illustrious career, Dwight D. Eisenhower and wife, Mamie Eisenhower were looking for a place to call home close to where he was stationed near Gettysburg. They purchased a farm less than a half a mile from the Gettysburg Battlefield. Afterwards, Eisenhower became President. During their time on the farm, they entertained prominent guest. All were treated to a tour of the battlefield and a dinner party in Eisenhower’s favorite spot in the home, his sunroom.
  • The David Wills House – Born and raised in Pennsylvania, David Willis moved to Gettysburg in 1859 to open a law office. Shortly after the Battle of Gettysburg, Wills became a prominent figure of the establishment of the Gettysburg National Cemetery at Gettysburg. For the cemetery’s dedication day, Willis invited President Abraham Lincoln and his dignitaries to dine with and stay at his home. While there, Lincoln finished his speech known as the Gettysburg Address.

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