2009 Gettysburg Dedication Day to feature Gov. Edward G. Rendell and Academy Award winner Richard Dreyfuss
Gettysburg National Military Park contains much of the ground where opposing armies from the Union and the Confederacy struggled for the first few days of July 1863 during the Battle of Gettysburg. The Pennsylvania Monument memorializes the soldiers and officers from the Keystone State who fought here. On November 19, 2009, the Gettysburg Address will be remembered in the annual Dedication Day ceremonies.
This November 19th, the 146th Anniversary of the Gettysburg Address will be honored with numerous events in Gettysburg. The day will begin with a 9:30 a.m. wreath laying ceremony at the Soldiers’ National Monument, featuring the Gettysburg High School Ceremonial Brass Band. Wreaths will be laid by Pennsylvania Governor Edward G. Rendell, Richard Dreyfuss, Brion FitzGerald, the Acting Superintendent of Gettysburg National Military Park, and Frederick E. Clark, Commander of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War Gettysburg Camp #112. Following a brief procession of Civil War reenactors along the upper drive, ceremonies will continue at 10:00 a.m. at the Rostrum, where Rendell and Dreyfuss will deliver remarks.
November 19, the anniversary of the Gettysburg Address, was formally designated as Dedication Day, by a joint resolution of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, on August 7, 1946. Through the efforts of Congressman Todd R. Platts (PA-19) a 2009 resolution (HRes736) was introduced and passed by unanimous vote of the House of Representatives on Tuesday, November 3, 2009. The Platts resolution is endorsed by the National Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission and the Pennsylvania Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission (PA ALBC). The PA ALBC was created by an Executive Order from the office of Governor Rendell in June 2006. The resolution states in part “Whereas 2009 is the 200th anniversary of the birth of Abraham Lincoln and bicentennial tributes to his birth are expected throughout the United States: Now, therefore, be it Resolved, That the House of Representatives– (1) honors President Lincoln’s greatest speech, the Gettysburg Address; …”
Of his participation at Dedication Day 2009, Mr. Dreyfuss said “When President Lincoln spoke at Gettysburg, he was both admired and reviled by the nation he was trying to save. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should know him, not just the office he held. And I am looking forward with enormous gratitude to the opportunity to speak to these truths on November 19.”
Musical performances by the “President’s Own” United States Marine Band will be a highlight of the ceremony, and are particularly appropriate given the fact that the U.S. Marine Band traveled with President Lincoln in 1863 when he visited Gettysburg to deliver “a few appropriate remarks.” The band was initially created through an Act of Congress in 1798, signed by President John Adams, authorizing “…a drum major, a fife major, and 32 drums and fifes.” In July 1861, President Abraham Lincoln signed an Act of
Congress officially recognizing the band by legislation. Although Lincoln was not a musician, he loved music. Some of his favorite songs were “Hail Columbia,” “Happy Land,” “Barbara Allen,” and “Dixie.”
Another new addition this year is the Naturalization Ceremony by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Sixteen applicants will receive the United States Oath of Citizenship. As usual, Jim Getty, portraying President Abraham Lincoln, will recite the Gettysburg Address, as he has done on Dedication Day for thirty years. The colors will be presented by the 11th PA Volunteer Infantry Fife and Drum Corps. Other participants in the day’s ceremonies include Janet Morgan Riggs, President of Gettysburg College; David Klinepeter portraying Ward Hill Lamon, soloist Wayne Hill, Rev. Stephen Herr, Pastor, Christ Lutheran Church. Finally, the emcee for the event will be D. Scott Hartwig, Vice President of the Lincoln Fellowship of Pennsylvania.
Immediately following the event at the rostrum, there will be the U.S. Colored Troops Graveside Salute where Jim Getty will deliver remarks. This will occur at the gravesite of Charles H. Parker, one of only two African American soldiers buried in the National Cemetery.
That evening, events will continue at The Majestic Theater (35 Carlisle Street, Gettysburg) with the World Premiere of “For the People,” a new Oratorio by Dr. John William Jones, Professor at the Sunderman Conservatory of Music, Gettysburg College. The Premier will feature guest narrator actor Stephen Lang, who has become known for work both on stage and in films, including the movies “Gettysburg” and “Gods and Generals.” Mr. Lang will star in three new films over the next year. This oratorio was commissioned by the PA Lincoln Bicentennial Commission and will feature The Spires Brass Band, Kathleen Sasnett, soprano, Jeffrey Fahnestock, tenor, bass-baritone Roosevelt Credit, The Sunderman Conservatory Woodwind Octet, and The Victorian Dance Ensemble.
Author Jeff Shaara will present the 11th Annual Michael Shaara Prize for Civil War Fiction to Nick Taylor, author of The Disagreement (Simon and Schuster, 2008). This novel tells the tale of a young Confederate doctor, John Muro, and the trials he faces at a military hospital during the Civil War.
Following the Shaara Prize, Michael Burlingame will deliver the 48th Annual Fortenbaugh Memorial Lecture at 8:00 PM. Dr. Burlingame is currently the Chancellor Naomi B. Lynn Distinguished Chair in Lincoln Studies at the University of Illinois at Springfield, and his most recent work is the two-volume biography Abraham Lincoln: A Life (The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2008). The topic of his lecture will be “Abraham Lincoln: New Information, Fresh Perspectives.”
At the conclusion of the evening, the public is invited to attend a reception with several scholars and authors including Jeff Shaara, Gabor Boritt, Allen Guelzo, Stephen Lang, Michael Burlingame, and Nick Taylor. DVDs and books will be on sale, and the public will have an opportunity to obtain autographs.
All Dedication Day events have been coordinated by The Lincoln Fellowship of Pennsylvania, the Civil War Institute at Gettysburg College, the Gettysburg National Military Park, and the Pennsylvania Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission. In addition, they have been endorsed by the National Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission.
November 2 -December 11, 2009:
Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History Exhibit “Free At Last: A History of the Abolition of Slavery in America,” open daily at the Historic Gettysburg Railroad Station.
Hunt Slonem’s “Blue Lincoln” Portrait: Historic Gettysburg Railroad Station.
November 16-22, 2009:
The Lincoln Flag of the Pike County Historical Society Exhibit at the Historic Gettysburg
The Historic Gettysburg Railroad Station, 35 Carlisle Street, Gettysburg, is open daily 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Admission is free. For more information, please call (717) 337-8233.
2:00 p.m. -3:30 p.m. Dedication Day Reception
Lincoln Into Art, Contemporary Art Gallery, 329 Baltimore Street, Gettysburg.
Featuring the public Gettysburg premiere of “The Gettysburg Address: Adagio” at 2:00 p.m. “The Gettysburg Address: Adagio” is a lyrical piece of music written for a baritone solo, piano accompaniment and snare drum. The composer, Rebecca Gillan, followed Lincoln’s text closely, and used the rhythm of the text to dictate the musical rhythms. The original musical work was inspired by Abraham Lincoln’s original text and was commissioned by the Louisiana Abraham Lincoln’s Bicentennial Commission and premiered on Oct. 26, 2008 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The reception and performance are free and open to the general public.
2:00-5:00 p.m. Abraham Lincoln & Governor Curtin Meet & Greet
Come shake hands and meet President Abraham Lincoln and Pennsylvania Governor Andrew Curtin.This event recreates the public meet & greet that was held the evening of November 19, 1863 in which visitors were received and were able to meet the President and Governor.
Cost: Free with admission Ages: All ages
The David Wills House, 8 Lincoln Square , Gettysburg, PA Phone: (866) 486-5735 Website: http://www.davidwillshouse.org/
4:00 p.m. “Gettysburg Addresses Lincoln”
After his address at the National Cemetery, President Lincoln traveled with local patriot John Burns to the Gettysburg Presbyterian Church for a rally. This free one-hour program will include a presentation “How Lincoln Came to Be ‘Under God’ at Gettysburg ” by public historian, Dr. Charles Teague, at the Gettysburg Presbyterian Church, 208 Baltimore Street in downtown Gettysburg, just two blocks south of Lincoln Square.