MANASSAS, Va., April 1, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- As a part of the 150th Anniversary Commemoration of the American Civil War in Prince William County & Manassas, one of the most fascinating and forgotten events relating to the conflict will be re-created. The National Jubilee of Peace, which occurred originally in 1911, will be reprised with a contemporary flair in an original theatrical production which includes 60 costumed actors delivering actual speeches given by historic figures at the Prince William County Courthouse in Manassas with current leaders addressing how he War shaped our nation today. The performers will include professional and local actors and elected officials representing the City of Manassas and Prince William County, Virginia.
The original short play by Ken Elton, Chair of George Mason University's Theater Department, has something for everyone: comedy, music, cavalry, re-enactors and actors as it weaves the history of 1911 and 2011 perspectives into a compelling dramatic event.
"Certainly the battles of war provide significant drama," said Elston, "but the moments of reconciliation and peace are just as stirring. We experienced a Civil War, struggled with our differences and demons, came together to mourn our dead, honor their sacrifices, and emerged a stronger nation. This production allows us to reflect upon how we came together as a great country."
"Today we see other countries going through some of the very struggles we did in 1861," said Corey Stewart Chairman, Prince William Board of County Supervisors. "We see countries fighting for change, fighting for equal rights, and fighting for freedom. The National Jubilee of Peace reminds us that while war is sometimes necessary to move forward as a nation, it was the ability to come together in unity once the battle ended that allowed us to emerge a stronger and more perfect Union."
"At the Manassas Battlefield, the first major land battle took place, which brought to light the realization that this would be a mighty struggle of brother against brother," said Mayor Harry "Hal" Parrish, City of Manassas. "Fifty years later, these very soldiers joined together in Manassas as brothers no longer at war but united in peace. As the world comes to Manassas and Prince William County to discover the history of the Civil War, we hope they also will discover the history of reconciliation that has made us the great nation we are today. "
"Seeing the National Jubilee of Peace come back to life is a rare opportunity for visitors," said Ann Marie Maher, executive director of the Prince William & Manassas CVB, which is marketing the commemorate events. "The National Jubilee of Peace has become just a footnote in history but it is an important part of our heritage and a unique addition to the events we're providing the traveling public for the Sesquicentennial. "
The National Jubilee of Peace will be a part of the kick-off to a four-day event that will begin Virginia's Sesquicentennial Commemoration of the American Civil War. More than 80 events have been planned by the Sesquicentennial Committee in 2011 for Prince William County and Manassas. Planning began in 2008 with a committee that embraced county, city and government groups, museums, attractions, historic groups, and preservationists.
The National Jubilee of Peace will be re-enacted at 4:00 p.m. at the Old Manassas Courthouse at the intersection of Grant and Lee in Old Town Manassas. Funded by grants from Prince William County and The City of Manassas, the re-enactment will be free and open to the public. The performance is expected to last 90 minutes. Visitors will experience the arrival of President Howard Taft, Governor William Hodges Mann, and event organizers George Carr Round and Edmund Berkeley. Civil War veterans in period dress, cavalry, militias, and bands along with some of the 48 peace maidens. The Johnson triplets will reprise the role of their triplet aunts who originally appeared in 1911. National, state, and local elected officials have also been invited to attend.
According to a Southern Railway broadside published in 1911: "The Manassas National Jubilee of Peace was a reunion of the blue and gray in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the first battle of the great war fought at Bull Run, VA (Manassas July 21, 1861)."
The veterans had met at Henry Hill House on Manassas Battlefield where they had once fought. Instead of ordinance and bayonets, the old soldiers exchanged a handshake. After enjoying a picnic luncheon entitled a "Love Feast", the veterans proceeded the five miles to the Manassas Courthouse. Forty-eight young women, the peace maidens, opened the ceremonies by singing the Manassas National Jubilee Anthem. More than 10, 000 veterans, dignitaries and spectators witnessed the addresses by the President of the United States and the Governor of Virginia.
Additional information on the National Jubilee of Peace (free) and ticket packages to other events are available at www.manassasbullrun.com and www.manassascivilwar.org or by calling 703-721-1861. The Sesquicentennial Commemoration will continue in Virginia through 2015.
SOURCE Prince William & Manassas Convention and Visitors Bureau