Grand Army of the Republic; Encampment. -Grand Rapids
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Five members of the Grand Army of the Republic sit in front of building in Grand Rapids, Michigan. "The development of an organization of Union veterans was the postwar conception of Benjamin Franklin Stephenson of Springfield, Illinois, who had served a two-year enlistment period as surgeon of the Fourteenth Illinois Infantry during the Civil War ... The Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) quickly became the preeminent veterans' organization formed at the close of the Civil War. Membership reached its peak in 1890, when over 400,000 members were reported ... The organization of the GAR was based upon three objectives: fraternity, charity, and loyalty. The first ideal was encouraged through regular, locally scheduled meetings and joint gatherings with members from other posts," from the Library of Congress' website.