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  • 01 Jul 2024 9:04 PM | Therese Orr (Administrator)

    This article originally appeared in the pages of the Gettysburg Times, June of 2024. It was penned by Rev. Stephen Herr of the Lincoln Fellowship of Pennsylvania, in the hopes of sharing the work the Fellowship does.

    When we think of Abraham Lincoln and Gettysburg, our thoughts often turn to his famous address delivered on November 19, 1863 at the dedication of the Soldiers’ National Cemetery.  To be sure, Lincoln’s speech remains his enduring legacy at Gettysburg.  Yet, Lincoln as Commander-in-Chief contributed in important ways to the Gettysburg Campaign throughout June and July of 1863. Although he was not physically present in Gettysburg during this time, his impact was still felt.

                    Most significantly, on June 28, Lincoln appointed General George Gordon Meade to serve as the Commanding General of the Army of the Potomac. The President and  Secretary of  War, Edwin Stanton selected Meade, and, unlike General John Fulton Reynolds who had been offered the position and turned it down, Meade had no choice.  Meade’s selection proved to be a good one.  The new commanding general immediately began studying the locations of both the Army of Northern Virginia and his own army.  Lincoln, along with General-in-Chief, Henry Halleck made it clear that Meade and his army were to stay between the southern army and the cities of Washington, D.C. and Baltimore.  Meade also began preparing his army for battle.

    Though often overlooked, Lincoln’s restraint during the battle of Gettysburg in allowing Meade to fight the battle on his terms had a significant effect on the way the battle played out.  Lincoln remained in Washington, D.C. and often visited the War Department telegraph office for updates and news.  The President displayed mature leadership by resisting the urge to send communications to Meade on how to conduct the battle, and thus let Meade’s responses to the ebb and flow of combat, rather than executive orders from afar, dictate the fighting.  His address to the press and others on the Fourth of July noted that the laudable results of the battle were such “as to cover the Army with the highest honor, to promise a great success to the cause of the Union and to claim the condolence for all of the many gallant fallen.”

    Following the battle, Lincoln expected Meade to aggressively pursue a crippled Confederate army.  However, Meade was forced to navigate between healing his own badly beaten-up army and maintaining a position that still protected Washington.  As a result, he was slow in pursuing Lee, much to the chagrin of Lincoln.  After more than two years of war, Lincoln had come to the realization that driving the southern army from the field no longer would secure an end to the war; the Army of Northern Virginia, he believed, must be so heavily pummeled that it would eliminate the Confederates’ capacity to continue the struggle. 

    Lincoln conferred with his cabinet and General Halleck about a more aggressive pursuit of Lee by Meade.  By July 14, Lee had escaped across the Potomac River and was back in Virginia.  Meade received a message from Halleck indicating that Lee’s escape had “created great dissatisfaction in the mind of the President.”  Meade responded by offering his resignation. Interestingly, throughout this closing portion of the campaign Lincoln did not communicate directly with Meade.  On July 14, he penned a letter to Meade, both expressing gratitude for his victory at Gettysburg, and outlining his rationale for his frustration and anger at the missed opportunity to end the war; however, Lincoln never signed or sent the letter. Though we will never know for sure, it is possible that, had Lincoln decided to send his letter, and had he communicated more frequently and directly with Meade throughout the battle itself, he might have seen strikingly different results from the campaign, and from the war itself. Thus, Lincoln’s overall absence from the battle just may have been his most significant contribution to it—for better or for worse.

    What is certain is that Lincoln’s greatest contribution to the enduring legacy of Gettysburg was his few appropriate remarks delivered four months later, in November. However, we cannot forget that his selection of Meade and his decisions both during and after the battle contributed in no small way to the military campaign itself.

    Throughout the summer the Lincoln Fellowship of Pennsylvania remembers the sacrifice of the soldiers who died at Gettysburg and the enduring legacy of Abraham Lincoln and his Gettysburg Address.  Join us each night through Labor Day at the Gettysburg National Cemetery for 100 Nights of Taps Gettysburg, 2024.  This educational opportunity, in partnership with the National Park Service, begins at 7:00 p.m.

  • 09 Jun 2024 8:40 PM | Therese Orr (Administrator)

    This article originally appeared in the pages of the Gettysburg Times, May of 2024. It was penned by John Tuskan of the Lincoln Fellowship of Pennsylvania, in the hopes of sharing the work the Fellowship does.

    The bugle call “Taps” will once more fill the air in Gettysburg every evening this summer as the famous 24-note call is sounded in honor of those who have died serving our nation. The Lincoln Fellowship of Pennsylvania is cosponsoring the eighth year of One Hundred Nights of Taps Gettysburg with Gettysburg National Military Park, in partnership with Taps for Veterans, the Gettysburg Licensed Battlefield Guides, and the Eisenhower National Historic Site. As we enter a new season of our program, questions are often asked about “Taps,” such as, when did ceremonial bugle calls begin and is “Taps” sounded in other nations?

    According to Jari Villanueva, Musical Director for 100 Nights of Taps Gettysburg and an expert on military bugle calls, the custom of honoring the dead at burials and memorial services with trumpet and bugle calls dates to Biblical times. Ancient trumpets were used at religious ceremonies and were associated with magical rites. The tradition of playing at sunrise (“Reveille”), sunset (“Retreat”), and at burials (“Taps”) may have evolved from these ancient services. In the military of many nations, it is now customary that a bugle or trumpet sounds the last call of the day and ceremonially honors the dead during military funerals.

    In the United States, “Taps” was first sounded in a military funeral in July 1862. Beginning in 1891, the playing of Taps became standard at military funeral ceremonies. Today, “Taps” is sounded as the final call every evening on military installations and at military funerals. In 2013 “Taps” was legislated as our “National Song of Military Remembrance.” Although “Taps” is unique to the U.S., other nations have also developed bugle call that are performed at military funerals.

    In England and the British Commonwealth Nations, “Last Post” “is the bugle call sounded during military funerals and other solemn occasions as a final farewell. It symbolizes that the duties of the dead are over and that they may rest in peace.

    During French military funerals, the bugle call “Sonnerie Aux Morts” is sounded. This call was composed for use by the French after World War I. During the war, French military leaders were impressed by the impact that the “Last Post” and “Taps” had on participants and observers during military funerals.

    In Italy “Silenzio d’Ordinanza” is sounded at night when soldiers have gone to sleep, and it is also performed at military funeral services.

    In Germany, no bugle calls are sounded at military funerals. Musical support may consist of a band or three drummers and one trumpet player. At the end of the ceremony, the band plays the chorale “Ich hatt einen Kameraden” ("I had a comrade").

    The Lincoln Fellowship of Pennsylvania cordially invites you to attend 100 Nights of Taps Gettysburg to hear the sounding of “Taps” and join us in honoring those buried there, as well as all those who have served our nation. The program will begin every evening at 7 PM between May 27 and September 2, 2024, at the Soldiers’ National Monument in the Gettysburg National Cemetery.

  • 28 Apr 2024 9:07 AM | Therese Orr (Administrator)

    This article originally appeared in the pages of the Gettysburg Times, April of 2024. It was penned by Therese Orr of the Lincoln Fellowship of Pennsylvania, in the hopes of sharing the work the Fellowship does.

    “I leave, not knowing when, or whether ever, I may return.”

    On November 6, 1860 telegraph lines spread the news across our still fledgling country: LINCOLN ELECTED! Thus began Lincoln’s journey to our nation’s capital that culminated in a serpentine trip of thirteen days from Springfield, IL to Washington, DC. It would be four long months before Lincoln’s inauguration.

    During those months, Lincoln worked on his inaugural address; greeted the hordes of citizens who traveled to the Mecca that Springfield had become; learned of wild rumors of plots to prevent him from being officially declared President (perhaps even stealing the boxes containing the electoral vote certificates from the states); and, most alarmingly, received warnings of plots to kill him.              

    On January 30, 1861, Lincoln visited his elderly stepmother, Sarah, who declared that she would never see him again, that his enemies would assassinate him. Lincoln assured Sarah that all would be well, to trust in the Lord.            

    Finally, on the cold, rainy, gloomy day of February 11, 1861, Lincoln boarded the Presidential Special train and began his trip east. Before a crowd that was estimated to be between one hundred and one thousand people, Lincoln gave a farewell speech. In two minutes, nine sentences, he thanked friends and family for their support, spoke of the daunting challenge before him, and asked for their prayers. Then the train was off, with a very precise to the minutes schedule.          

    A direct route to Washington was risky as it would take him through hostile Virginia. Instead, he would journey into New York state before turning south towards his ultimate destination. Due to the precise schedule, crowds lined the route and waited at stations when the train paused, even if only for a few minutes. He delivered brief remarks at many small towns along the route. Receptions occurred and he gave even longer speeches at cities and overnight stops in Indianapolis, Cincinnati, Columbus, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, Utica, Troy, Poughkeepsie, New York City, Trenton, Philadelphia and Harrisburg.             

    Despite avoiding Virginia, danger still lay ahead at Baltimore. Informants learned that plans were underway to assassinate Lincoln as he traveled through the city. Railroad detective Allan Pinkerton was hired to foil the plot. He and eight detectives learned many more details of the assassination plot and finally informed Lincoln late on the night of February 21. However, he declined their recommendation to travel directly to Washington from Trenton, as he believed it was important to visit Philadelphia and Harrisburg.             

    As he left his final meeting in Harrisburg on the evening of February 22, Lincoln donned a soft wool hat and an old coat. A small train replaced the Presidential Special and it sped towards Baltimore, its lamps extinguished. The train reached Baltimore around 3:30 a.m., where the cars would be pulled by horses through the downtown streets to reach the next station and continue the journey to Washington. This was the most dangerous part of his journey. At approximately 4:30 a.m. the train eased out of Baltimore and arrived safely in Washington at 6:00 a.m. on February 23.           

    Lincoln had arrived. The long journey was over.

  • 04 Apr 2024 8:04 PM | Therese Orr (Administrator)

    This article originally appeared in the pages of the Gettysburg Times, January of 2024. It was penned by Ken Kime of the Lincoln Fellowship of Pennsylvania, in the hopes of sharing the work the Fellowship does.

    Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas’s famed 1858 debates on the issue of slavery helped both men achieve popularity in their pursuit of the White House and are often remembered as the early proving ground of Lincoln’s political career.  However, the public generally declared Douglas the victor of those debates, and it would not be until two years later, at Cooper Union, that Lincoln would come to convince the American public of the dominance of his political aptitude.

    In 1859, Lincoln campaigned in Ohio, where he gained accolades for his ability to deliver speeches in dramatic fashion. He spoke in Dayton, Columbus, Hamilton, and Cincinnati. Because of one particularly powerful address in Cincinnati at the Fifth Street Market and the ensuing widespread press coverage it garnered, residents in the northeast started to pay more attention to the man from Illinois. At that time, the front runner for the presidential nomination in New York was William Seward—ironically, the man who would later become Lincoln’s Secretary of State. Lincoln was becoming better known in the East, but still wasn’t popular enough to gain any momentum over Seward.

    However, in February of 1860, the Rev. Henry Ward invited Lincoln to speak in New York City. After Lincoln accepted the invitation, an estimated 1500 people expressed an interest in attending and the venue was moved to The Cooper (Institute) Union Hall instead of Rev. Ward’s church. Lincoln’s law partner, William Herndon said that Lincoln worked harder on this speech than on any that he had written before. The speech was delivered on February 27, 1860. Noah Brooks, a New York Tribune journalist, took special note of the applause that interrupted the speech, as well as the enthusiasm generated amongst the audience.

    The Cooper Union speech was a huge success for Lincoln’s push for the White House. During his stay in New York City, he also met popular figures, William Cullen Bryant, Noah Brooks, Horace Greely, Gideon Wells, and Mathew Brady. The extensive newspaper coverage of the program produced an estimated 170,000 copies of the speech that circulated widely, furthering increasing Lincoln’s popularity.  After delivering the speech, Lincoln had Mathew Brady take a formal picture of Lincoln, which remains an iconic image to this day, and printed a formal copy of the speech itself.

    While out east, he made appearances and delivered speeches in New Haven, Connecticut, and Providence, Rhode Island. While in New Hampshire, he also visited his son Robert at his prep school for Harvard, in Exeter.

    Lincoln went on to make additional speeches in Chicago that March and in Council Bluffs, Iowa in August, but his Cincinnati appearance and the Cooper Union speech in New York City were doubtless fundamental for helping to secure the Republican nomination for the Presidency.

    For more information on Lincoln and to learn about The Lincoln Fellowship of Pennsylvania, visit lincolnfellowshipofpa.org.

    Ken Kime is the Vice President of The Lincoln Fellowship of Pennsylvania.

  • 04 Apr 2024 10:05 AM | Therese Orr (Administrator)
    This article originally appeared in the pages of the Gettysburg Times, March of 2024. It was penned by Wendy Allen of the Lincoln Fellowship of Pennsylvania, in the hopes of sharing the work the Fellowship does.

    I suspect there are few adults in the world today who don’t know what the current United States presidential candidates look like. That was not always the case. Just prior to the Republican National Convention in mid-May 1860, there were many Americans who did not know what candidate Abraham Lincoln looked like, but he was rumored to be quite unattractive. Reports of his ugliness proliferated. The Houston Telegraph stated that he was “the leanest, lankiest, most ungainly mass of legs, arms and hatchet face ever strung upon a single frame.”
    When Lincoln’s nomination was announced on the third ballot in Chicago, streams of hand-colored wood engravings of Lincoln were scattered throughout the convention hall like confetti. For many, this was the first time they had seen his image. Soon, there was an instant desire from the public to see more pictures of Lincoln, and printmakers were eager to meet their demands. They were also now filling the need for carte-de-visite photographs, which debuted in America in 1860.What became of all those prints and photographs? Well, of course, surviving prints are in museums and private collections. Here is a fun story that sheds some light on one special private collection.
    In the 1920s, a group of young American artists took up residence in Paris. Among them were Ernest Hemingway, Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, and the then-famous society couple Gerald and Sara Murphy. Calvin Tomkins, an art critic for the New Yorker magazine, recounted a story that Gerald had told him. One day, the Spanish painter Pablo Picasso invited the couple to his apartment. Over drinks, he gave Gerald and Sara a tour, showing them room after room, each crowded with half-finished masterpieces. Then Picasso "led Gerald rather ceremoniously to an alcove that contained a tall cardboard box.” Murphy recalled, “It was full of illustrations, photographs, engravings, and reproductions clipped from newspapers.” Every one of the images was of the same person — Abraham Lincoln. “I’ve been collecting them since I was a child,” Picasso told Gerald. “I have thousands—thousands!”
    From the box, Picasso retrieved a portrait of Lincoln taken by the photographer Mathew Brady. Murphy remembered “the great feeling” with which the artist declared, “Voilà la vraie élégance américaine!” (“This is true American elegance.”)
    Did anyone in Lincoln’s time consider him handsome? We need to look no further than to the good people here in Gettysburg. In 1863, when Lincoln appeared on the steps of the Wills House on York Street, thirteen-year-old William H. Tipton, a photographer's apprentice, was among the crowd of spectators. He recalled, “In my eagerness to see and hear the President, whom I regarded as much above all other men, and second only to the Almighty, I centered all my attention on Mr. Lincoln, and no word or movement of his escaped my notice. I had heard that Mr. Lincoln was the homeliest man in the country. But when my eyes beheld that sad but kindly countenance, those strong rugged features seemed handsome to me."
    It seemed that way to Picasso, and it seems that way to me too.

  • 04 Apr 2024 9:58 AM | Therese Orr (Administrator)

    This article originally appeared in the pages of the Gettysburg Times, February of 2024. It was penned by Wendy Allen of the Lincoln Fellowship of Pennsylvania, in the hopes of sharing the work the Fellowship does.

    On Sunday, February 12, 1809, in a one-room log cabin about 18 by 16 feet, with a dirt floor, one window, one door, and a small fireplace, Nancy Hanks Lincoln lay close to the fire on her bed of cornhusks and bearskins. The family, in the words of Carl Sandburg, "welcomed into a world of battle and blood, of whispering dreams and wistful dust, a new child, a boy." He was named Abraham after his grandfather.

    To honor President Abraham Lincoln’s 215th birthday, the Lincoln Fellowship hosted over 70 preschoolers with a tour of the David Wills Home provided by Gettysburg National Military Park rangers. The children serenaded the “Return Visit” statue with “Happy Birthday.” They also met mounted police officers and (GNMP) rangers and then were treated to celebratory cupcakes at the students’ respective preschools following the ceremony.

    Bugler signup starting on March 15th signals the upcoming 8th season of One Hundred Nights of Taps, Gettysburg. Visitors to Gettysburg National Cemetery can experience the sounding of Taps every evening from Memorial Day to Labor Day. The opening ceremony will be on Memorial Day, May 27, at 7 p.m. The distinguished retired United States Air Force Lieutenant General Christopher Burne will be the keynote speaker.

    Every evening, a Union soldier buried in Soldiers' National Cemetery is honored through the Taps program. This soldier is a representation of all the soldiers buried in the cemetery. This year's commemorative coin bears the image of 2nd Lt. Edmund Dascomb, Co. G, 2nd N.H. Vols. He was a student from Tufts College, who was killed during the battle on July 2, 1863, when the Confederate forces overran the 2nd New Hampshire Volunteer Infantry at the Joseph Sherfy Peach Orchard. The regiment lost 190 of its 354 officers and men, and Lt. Dascomb was one of them.
    We are planning the 161th Dedication Day ceremony on November 19th. We can share that this year’s keynote speaker will be Dr. Craig L. Symonds. He won the Pritzker Military Museum & Library’s 2023 Literature Award for Lifetime Achievement in Military Writing. In 2009 he shared the Lincoln Prize with James M. McPherson. Dr. Symonds is Professor Emeritus of History at the United States Naval Academy, where he taught for thirty years, including a four-year term as History Department Chair, and is the author of seventeen books.

    As we approach the 250th birthday of America, we cannot forget that Lincoln was the natural outgrowth of the newly designed free institutions (then only afforded to its white citizens) that preceded him, e.g., democracy, constitutional government, individual rights, market economics, religious freedom and tolerance, and freedom of thought and inquiry. His character and confidence could never have been fully developed amid the deep-rooted, limited social constraints of the European society of his times. He is an original. America forges originals. It is one of many reasons this country is so great and celebrated. The Lincoln Fellowship is committed to creating meaningful events that honor the extraordinary contributions of this amazing American original.

  • 09 Jan 2024 11:06 AM | Wendy S. Allen (Administrator)

    This article originally appeared in the pages of the Gettysburg Times, December of 2023. It was penned by Dr. Ashley Whitehead Luskey of the Lincoln Fellowship of Pennsylvania, in the hopes of sharing the work the Fellowship does.

    “These people gave us a chance…so that we can do better than we have before.”  These poignant words, uttered amidst the American graves at Normandy by former president, General Dwight D. Eisenhower on the 20th anniversary of D-Day, were again recited by the President’s granddaughter, famed policy analyst and author, Susan Eisenhower on the stage of Gettysburg’s Majestic Theater before a crowd of 800 this past November 19th. The date marked the 160th anniversary of both Abraham Lincoln’s “Gettysburg Address” and the dedication of Soldiers National Cemetery, and began with the procession of the leading program participants by horse-drawn carriage from Gettysburg National Cemetery through town to the Majestic. Ms. Eisenhower’s keynote reflection provided a powerful and resonant connection between the seminal centennial commemoration of Dedication Day, in 1963, at which her grandfather had also delivered the keynote speech, and the 2023 program. This year’s program featured not only the traditional elements of the yearly Dedication Day event, such as the recitation of the Gettysburg Address, wonderfully delivered by actor, Graham Sibley, but also incorporated numerous elements from the centennial event of 60 years previous, which helped the audience contemplate both the continued and evolving legacies of Lincoln’s eloquent words since November of 1863.

    A deep admirer of Lincoln’s leadership and personal character, General Eisenhower clearly appreciated the linkages between the sacrifice of Union soldiers during the Civil War for, what Lincoln eulogized, the preservation of democratic government and individual freedom, and the sacrifice of U.S. troops on D-Day in the name of global democracy. No doubt, as he gazed out from the rostrum in Soldiers National Cemetery on November 19, 1963 at the 3,500 graves of Union dead, the image of the graves at Normandy superimposed themselves upon the small, whitewashed stones.  Susan Eisenhower’s call for all citizens to re-seek common ground, re-embrace the human dignity of all people, and revive the art of civil debate with which to try to iron out the myriad conflicts and disputes dividing our nation in the present hearkened back to the call of her grandfather—to do better than we have before, in the name of all who have died on the battlefield to give our nation another chance.

    Lincoln himself famously referred to America as the “last best hope for democracy on earth”—a last, best hope for which the 3,500 Union soldiers buried in our cemetery gave their lives---another chance for democracy at home, and as a guiding beacon for governments abroad. This past Dedication Day saw that beacon of democracy celebrated in the naturalization of 16 citizen candidates representing 8 foreign countries--- a perennial highlight of the ceremony and an emotional moment for candidates and the audience alike.

    However, one of the most memorable and perhaps defining moments of the entire ceremony was delivered by Grammy Award-winning mezzo-soprano, J’Nai Bridges, who performed the two hymns sung by famed contralto, Marian Anderson at the 1963 Dedication Day event. Ms. Bridges’s breathtaking renditions of “Lead Kindly, Light” and “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands” brought the audience to their feet. Like Anderson’s, Ms. Bridges’s sublime performance elevated the program with a powerful inspiration to, indeed, do better than we have done before, to ensure that the fallen of Gettysburg—and their fallen successors since—shall never have died in vain, and to make the most and best of the second chance they selflessly gave us here at Gettysburg.

    Dr. Ashley Whitehead Luskey is the Assistant Director of the Civil War Institute at Gettysburg College and a member of the Lincoln Fellowship’s Board of Directors.

  • 28 Nov 2023 10:46 AM | Wendy S. Allen (Administrator)

    This article originally appeared in the pages of the Gettysburg Times, November of 2023. It was penned by Rev. Stephen Herr of the Lincoln Fellowship of Pennsylvania, in the hopes of sharing the work the Fellowship does.

    A little over six weeks before traveling to Gettysburg to make a “few appropriate remarks” at the dedication of a cemetery for Union soldiers who died during the battle, President Lincoln issued a Proclamation of Thanksgiving. Lincoln called all Americans to set aside Nov. 26 “as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.” Though the country was experiencing the most devasting year in the Civil War yet, Lincoln’s proclamation commenced with words of hopeful reflection. He focused on the abundance of industriousness throughout the Union that included maintaining peace with other nations, growth in its population and borders, and providing resources to sustain both civilian and military populations. Lincoln understood a forgiving and merciful Most High God provided the nation with these gifts.

    Lincoln’s call for a national day of thanks came three score and 14 years to the exact date President George Washington signed a Thanksgiving Proclamation. Lincoln’s Proclamation echoed Washington’s, who gave thanks for the divine hand in caring for the colonies prior to the American Revolution, protecting them during that war, and assisting the creation of a constitutional government. Both presidents recognized a holy intervention in providing for our nation’s well-being and prosperity.

    Where Lincoln significantly differed from Washington was his call for penitence. Here, Lincoln demonstrates an honest, humble understanding that the “nations’ perseverance and disobedience” has led to great suffering and death. Lincoln proclaimed, “And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they also do, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility and Union.“ His words were harbingers of his Second Inaugural in 1865, where he longed for the nations’ wounds to be healed. Unfortunately, when Nov. 26, 1863, arrived, Lincoln was ill and unable to work or enjoy the day of thanks he had proclaimed. Nevertheless, his proclamation of Thanksgiving echoes through the years, reminding us again of the ways Lincoln continues to inspire.

    At this time of Thanksgiving, the Lincoln Fellowship of Pennsylvania gives thanks to Abraham Lincoln and his remarkable legacy. We are grateful for our membership across this nation and the support of wonderful partners who help us host the annual Nov. 19 Dedication Day program and offer One Hundred Nights of Taps Gettysburg each night at the Gettysburg National Cemetery from Memorial Day to Labor Day. This holiday season, we invite you to stop by the “Return Visit” statue maintained by the fellowship on Lincoln Square and contemplate the ever-pertinent Gettysburg Address.

  • 06 Nov 2023 6:35 AM | Wendy S. Allen (Administrator)

    This article originally appeared in the pages of the Gettysburg Times, October of 2023. It was penned by Wendy Allen of the Lincoln Fellowship of Pennsylvania, in the hopes of sharing the work the Fellowship does.

    This past spring, Destination Gettysburg hosted a guest speaker at its annual members' dinner who had a very interesting message: He urged those of us in the tourist industry to provide visitors with a "transcendent experience"—one that connects people with the world beyond their typical existence and helps them discover a greater meaning and purpose in life. It is a challenging goal, but one that the Lincoln Fellowship of Pennsylvania has long sought to achieve with every program and event that it sponsors, notably the Dedication Day celebration held every November 19 and One Hundred Nights of Taps, Gettysburg, held every evening throughout the summer.
    Today I received an email with an audition tape from a teacher in Maryland who was advocating for one of their high school students to sound Taps for the 2024 season of One Hundred Nights of Taps, Gettysburg. The bugler is more than qualified, and it will be an honor to host her next summer. The idea that this student, as well as many other young musicians around the country, are eager to sound Taps in the Gettysburg National Cemetery is a quintessential example of how One Hundred Nights of Taps, Gettysburg, fulfills the mission to provide a memorable and transcendent experience, not only for this young student but for all the visitors who will be present that evening.
    Another way in which the Lincoln Fellowship achieves this goal is through our annual Dedication Day ceremony, which celebrates the anniversary of Lincoln's immortal Gettysburg Address. This year, with the invaluable help of our partners, Gettysburg College, Gettysburg National Military Park, and Gettysburg Foundation, we are proud to present a tribute in honor of the 60th anniversary of the historic 1963 Centennial ceremony, which featured two of our nation's icons, former President Dwight D. Eisenhower and singer Marian Anderson. We are confident that our guests will be deeply moved by the special program we have planned.
    On November 9, 2023, the Adams County Community Foundation (ACCF) is holding its annual “Giving Spree” to raise funds for non-profit organizations in the county. We are one of the participating non-profits.

    A large percentage of our annual operating funds come from the contributions donated during the Giving Spree. These donations provide us with the funds we need to sponsor One Hundred Nights of Taps, Gettysburg, the annual Dedication Day ceremony, and our other educational programs honoring the life and legacy of President Abraham Lincoln. To help us achieve our goals, the ACCF will be establishing an endowment to provide income for future events as well as to maintain of the “Return Visit” statue in the town square. As you consider making a Giving Spree donation to the Lincoln Fellowship of Pennsylvania, please also consider splitting that donation between the Today fund and the Forever fund.

    Please join us on November 19th for the annual Dedication Day ceremony and have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

  • 06 Nov 2023 6:33 AM | Wendy S. Allen (Administrator)

    This article originally appeared in the pages of the Gettysburg Times, September of 2023. It was penned by Therese Orr of the Lincoln Fellowship of Pennsylvania, in the hopes of sharing the work the Fellowship does.

    “Lincoln and others did indeed give us ‘a new birth of freedom,’ but the goals of liberty and freedom, the obligations of keeping ours a government of and by the people are never-ending.” These are the words of President John Kennedy, sent via telegram to this newspaper and printed on the front page on November 19, 1963, the centennial anniversary of Dedication Day and the Gettysburg Address.

    Ten thousand people are estimated to have attended the ceremonies on a warm, brilliantly sunny November afternoon. As in 1863, a procession from the town square to the cemetery followed Lincoln’s original route, with military units, bands, a president and a governor. The U.S. Marine Band and the colors of the 28th Division, PA National Guard led this procession. Notably, the headquarters unit of the U.S. 3rd Infantry, which was formed at the birth of our nation, participated in all of our wars, and was present at the battle of Gettysburg, also joined in. The Gettysburg High School band greeted the procession at the cemetery entrance, and a 21-gun salute echoed through the air as Eisenhower’s car entered the cemetery.

    Former President Dwight D. Eisenhower was the keynote speaker that day. He said Lincoln “foresaw a new birth of freedom, a freedom and equality for all, which … would restore the purpose and meaning of America, defining a goal that challenges each of us to attain his full stature of citizenship. The beauty of the sentiments Lincoln expressed enthralls us; the majesty of his words holds us spellbound; but we have not paid to them their just tribute until we, ourselves, live them.”

    President Eisenhower invited opera singer, Marian Anderson, to sing at the ceremony. She arrived in Gettysburg planning to sing one particular hymn, only to find that the program listed another hymn. She expressed concern over the change and board members suggested announcing the change in hymns at the podium. She insisted that she only needed a hymnal, if one could be produced. Fellowship members procured a Christian Youth Hymnal from St. James Lutheran Church for Miss Anderson. She sang two selections that day, to the great delight of the crowd.

    Justice Michael Musmanno of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court delivered the Gettysburg Address. Interestingly, Musmanno had become a friend of Abraham Lincoln’s son, Robert, frequent visitor to Georgetown University, which Musmanno had also attended. Musmanno first presented Lincoln’s address at a meeting of the Lincoln Fellowship in 1939, and had presented it “hundreds of times” since.

    The crowd that day was much larger than the Park Service had anticipated and reinforcements were needed. Thirty members of the Gettysburg College ROTC were dispatched to assist the rangers. Among the cadets was Thomas Gideon Welles, Jr., whose great-grandfather, Gideon Welles, had served as Lincoln’s Secretary of the Navy. Welles was present on the platform with Lincoln in 1863.
    As the 1963 commemoration emulated the 1863, our 2023 commemoration will emulate the 1963 event in many ways. Please join us on November 19th to hear Susan Eisenhower and opera star, renowned American mezzo-soprano, J’Nai Bridges. 

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