President Abraham Lincoln's famous "Gettysburg Address" will take center stage this November as the nation commemorates the 150th Anniversary of his immortal speech as well as the dedication of the country's first national cemetery.
On November 19, this small Pennsylvania town will pay tribute to Lincoln's "few appropriate remarks" with a ceremony in the Soldiers' National Cemetery, a place the 16th president came to dedicate; a place where more than 3,500 Union dead were buried following the American Civil War's most tragic battle.
"The soldiers at Gettysburg suffered greatly after the battle, as did the townspeople, and the dedication ceremony in 1863 gave them hope and reminded them to never forget the legacy of those who lost their lives here, just as our Dedication Day does today," said Norris Flowers, president of the Gettysburg Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Dedication Day will be held at Soldiers' National Cemetery and will include a Wreath Laying Ceremony at 10am, followed by a formal ceremony. Speaking will be Pulitzer Prize-winning author and noted American Civil War historian James McPherson. The formal ceremony will feature candidates taking the United States Oath of Citizenship and a $5,000 scholarship will be awarded to a Pennsylvania student as part of the "In Lincoln's Footsteps" speech competition. Music will be provided by the U.S. Marine Corps Band and nationally renowned Lincoln portrayer James Getty will deliver a recitation of the Gettysburg Address.
The night prior, November 18, the Gettysburg community is planning several events throughout town, including musical performances, programs, tours and living history.
Coinciding with Dedication Day and the 150th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address is Remembrance Day, to be held this year on Saturday, November 23. Gettysburg residents and visitors annually commemorate the sacrifices made during and after the battle. Remembrance Day will begin with a Grand Army of the Republic Memorial Service at the Woolson Monument in Zeigler's Grove in the Gettysburg National Military Park at 11am. The service will be followed by the 57th Annual Remembrance Day Parade, which will step off downtown at 1pm in remembrance of the soldiers who served during the Civil War.
The 11th Annual Remembrance Illumination will take place on Nov. 23 at Soldiers' National Cemetery from 5:30-9:30pm. Luminary candles will be lit on the graves of each of the Civil War soldiers to commemorate the sacrifices made at Gettysburg.
"Both Dedication Day and Remembrance Day are a chance for us to commemorate and pay tribute to those who in the past that served our country and gave the ultimate sacrifice here at Gettysburg," Flowers said. "November will commemorate a very important time in history this year, and will certainly be a special time to be in Gettysburg."
For more information on Dedication Day and Remembrance Day events, visit www.gettysburgcivilwar150.com.
For more information about top events in Pennsylvania take a look at the Top Events USA selection of the annual main festivals and events in Pennsylvania.