Gettysburg gears up to again commemorate Lincoln’s visit

Stephanie Kalina-Metzger

Dedicating Soldiers Cemetery was the reason for President Lincoln’s famous address at Gettysburg

Each year residents of Gettysburg and visitors gather for Dedication Day, to recognize when President Lincoln came to town to deliver the Gettysburg Address and dedicate the Soldiers’ National Cemetery.

An article in the Nov. 30, 1863, edition of The Indiana State Sentinel described the event: “The ceremonies attending the dedication commenced this morning by a grand military and civic display, under command of Major General Couch.” The story went on to describe details of the day’s events and the delivery of what became a historic speech.

This year, the iconic event, slated for Nov. 19, coincides with Remembrance Day, a separate event devoted to the brave soldiers who fought and died in Gettysburg during the Civil War.

Dedicating Soldiers Cemetery was the reason for President Lincoln’s famous address at Gettysburg
Dedicating Soldiers Cemetery was the reason for President Lincoln’s famous address at Gettysburg

“Gettysburg is getting ready for a day full of recognition and remembrance,” said Norris Flowers, of Destination Gettysburg. “It is so important to recall and pay tribute to what happened in this town and these events are the perfect opportunity to do just that.”

LeVar Burton to address crowd

After a wreath-laying ceremony at 9:30am at the Soldiers’ National Monument in the Soldiers’ National Cemetery, distinguished actor LeVar Burton will address the crowd. Afterward, Lincoln impersonator George Buss will recite the Gettysburg Address.

Remembrance Day ceremonies will commence at 1:00pm, with the annual Remembrance Day parade and activities. The commemoration will culminate with an illumination held 5:30–9:00pm at the cemetery. Approximately 3,512 candles will light the night in memory of each of the fallen soldiers whose names will be recited throughout the evening.

Activities are free and open to the public. Seating is limited and attendees are encouraged to bring lawn chairs. Parking is available at the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum and Visitor Center and a free shuttle service will be running throughout the day.

Beyond the battlefield

There’s more to Gettysburg than the battlefield and Civil War history. The Authentic Adams County website is home to videos that communicate real-life stories of residents who call Adams County home.

You can learn the story of Rettland Farm from Beau Ramsburg, whose family participates in the farm-to-table movement by supplying food to area restaurants such as Fidler & Co. “I think all farmers in general have a responsibility for the land that they steward, knowing that they are only borrowing it for a little while,” says Ramsburg. Visitors can get a glimpse into the kitchen of chef Josh Fidler as he uses ingredients procured from the farm to create dishes that receive rave reviews from critics around the region.

Among those family farms are countless barns — rustic structures which stand as a testament to grit and determination. Some are new, many are aged and others have been lovingly restored. Learn about a barn built in 1867 that was later purchased by the Musselman family and is today used as a special events venue. In the online video, Kendra Debany, barn preservation specialist, describes the importance of these special structures in understanding the culture of a community.

Adams County is also home to artists who strive to keep history alive. “A Portrait of Three Artists” tells the tale of those who share a passion for the past. View their work and learn more from Wendy Allen, Dale Gallon, and Charles Joyce as they describe what drives them to create.

These vibrant and informative videos are both educational and enlightening and help open the doors of imagination for visitors to discover what beckons beyond the battlefield.

Before you go:

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