On Tuesday, November 19, Gettysburg National Military Park (NMP) marked the 150th anniversary of the dedication of the Soldiers’ National Cemetery, an event which was marked by Abraham Lincoln delivering his immortal Gettysburg Address. Thousands of people attended the 90-minute ceremony, including Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, Director Jarvis and Northeast Regional Director Dennis Reidenbach.
Secretary Jewell shared keynote honors with Pulitzer Prize winning historian James McPherson. In her 272-word remarks, mirroring the length of Lincoln’s address, she reminded the crowd that our nation’s 16th president, “not only saved the American union but also came to symbolize its greatest virtues of humility, honesty and decency,” and that 150 years later, his words spoken at Gettysburg “call us to unfinished work…to continue to perfect our nation and a government that is truly ‘of the people, by the people, for the people.”
Gettysburg NMP Law Enforcement Ranger Morgan Brooks read a reflection on the Gettysburg Address prepared by President Barack Obama for the ceremony. To read the remarks click here.
The event also included music by the United States Marine Band, who attended the dedication of the cemetery in 1863. Also as part of the Dedication Day ceremonies, 16 new United States citizens were given the Oath of Citizenship by Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. Lincoln portrayer James Getty recited the Gettysburg Address.
The NPS Social Media team under the direction of Jason Martz covered the event. Check out their photos on Gettysburg NMP’s Facebook page.
Commemorative events continue in Gettysburg on November 23rd with the Remembrance Day Parade and the 11th Annual Luminaria, in the Soldiers` National Cemetery.
by Katie Lawhon, Management Assistant, with special thanks to Tami Heilemann for her photos.