By Rep. Dan Moul (R-Adams)
Several years ago, I joined my friend, fellow motorcycle enthusiast and former Rep. Harry Readshaw (D-Allegheny) on his annual Ride to Gettysburg to raise money for the Pennsylvania Gettysburg Monuments Fund.
Known as Readshaw’s Raiders, each year members of A.B.A.T.E-PA gather by the hundreds at the state Capitol and, together, they make the nearly 40-mile trip to Gettysburg. Twenty-six years later, the ride is still going strong.
As one who grew up in the Gettysburg area, surrounded by these historic monuments, I know a lot about Civil War history and Gettysburg in particular, but Harry, who is from southwestern Pennsylvania and a Civil War buff, told me something I didn’t know – that each state is responsible for maintaining its own Civil War monuments. Consequently, many had fallen into disrepair and needed restoration and ongoing care.
In 1997, he started the Pennsylvania Gettysburg Monuments Project to repair, restore and preserve these important national symbols. In all, its annual Civil War Ball, held each year in the Capitol Rotunda, and the Readshaw Raider’s Ride to Gettysburg, which began 2001, has raised over $400,000 for monument preservation.
In 2003, in cooperation with the nonprofit Gettysburg Battlefield Preservation Association, the Gettysburg Pennsylvania Monuments Trust was established and 146 monuments representing Pennsylvania regiments were identified as needing ongoing care and maintenance.
Harry believes, as I do, that we must never forget the decisive Battle of Gettysburg and the many brave soldiers who fought and died here. These monuments, referred to by Readshaw as “icons of freedom” are lasting reminders of the significance of what occurred here, and that we must never allow such bloody divisiveness to imperil our nation again.
Registration for this year’s ride will begin at 10 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 30, at Soldier’s Grove behind the state Capitol. Kickstands go up at 1 p.m. sharp for the ride to Gettysburg, which will conclude at Battlefield Harley-Davidson, 21 Cavalry Field Road, Gettysburg.
Representative Dan Moul
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Donna Pinkham