Thursday, November 21, 2013

A Few Pictures from the 150th Dedication of the Gettysburg Address

The dedication ceremony this week honoring the 150th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address featured keynote speeches from Pulitzer Prize-winning historian James McPherson and Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, and a Naturalization Ceremony conducted for 16 new citizens by Associate Justice Antonin Scalia.  Lauren Pyfer, a junior from Upper Dublin High School near Philadelphia and winner of the "In Lincoln's Footsteps" essay contest, delivered her modern interpretation of the Gettysburg Address to appreciative applause.

Of course, President Lincoln delivered 270 words, give or take.  Edward Everett was nowhere to be found--not a bad thing given the cold morning breezes.

Kudos to the National Park Service, the Gettysburg Foundation,  the Lincoln Fellowship of Pennsylvania, and Gettysburg College for supporting such a moving event.

We walked in the footsteps of Lincoln the day before the dedication ceremony, from the Lincoln Train Depot to the Wills House to the Gettysburg National Cemetery.  This is the Soldiers National Memorial, not far from where Lincoln spoke, framed against a perfect fall sky.

 The National Park Service knows how to host a crowd.
On the evening before the dedication, Admiral Michael Mullen (former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff), Harvard President Drew Gilpin Faust, and filmmaker Ric Burns discussed Faust's book, This Republic of Suffering, and ways in which we honor the dead.  It was a terrific back-and-forth and a great preface to the next day's dedication ceremony.

The crowd at the dedication was dressed warmly, no matter the era.

They're not supposed to know I'm taking their picture.
We were serenaded by "President Lincoln's Own Band," which also appeared in Stephen Spielberg's Lincoln.

What would the dedication be without Frederick Douglass?
Notables (l-r) included Scott Gordon Perry, US Rep for Pennsylvania's 4th district (far left), Associate Justice Antonin Scalia (middle left), Pennyslvania Governor Tom Corbett (center), Jonathan Jarvis (18th Director of the National Park Service) and Bob Kirby (Superintendent of Gettysburg National Military Park), and historian James McPherson (far right).
Justice Scalia with Governor Tom Corbett and First Lady Susan Corbett, dedicating a wreath to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
Princeton historian James McPherson, whose Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era won the 1989 Pulitzer Prize in History, delivered one of two excellent keynote addresses.
Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewel delivered the other keynote.  She began by telling the crowd she would limit herself to 270 words.
Of course, Lincoln was on hand to deliver the Address.  This is James Getty, whose voice is heard at The Lincoln Memorial and the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan.
Below I tried to capture a little of Getty's delivery on my iPhone.  It was folksier than I had anticipated.

Associate Justice Scalia delivered the Oath of Allegiance to 16 new citizens.

The United States Marine Band, founded in 1798, is the oldest continuously active professional musical organization in the country.  Their version of the "One Hundreth", a hymn played when Lincoln attended 150 years ago, was beautiful.