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November 19, the anniversary of the Gettysburg Address and the Dedication of the Soldiers' National Cemetery, was formally designated as Dedication Day, by a joint resolution of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, on November 19, 1946. Each year since 1938, the Lincoln Fellowship of Pennsylvania has commemorated Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address and rededicated Soldiers’ National Cemetery where Lincoln spoke on this date. In the intervening years, this annual event has grown and is now co-sponsored by Gettysburg National Military Park, the Gettysburg Foundation, and Gettysburg College. It is presented outdoors on the historic rostrum located in the cemetery. Over the years, many influential and noteworthy national figures including: Harry Truman, Dwight Eisenhower, Tom Ridge, John Hope Franklin, Shelby Foote, Carl Sandburg, Doris Kearns Goodwin, Stephan Lang, Sandra Day O’Connor, Ken Burns, Stephen Spielberg and others have spoken at the ceremony to help all of us remember Lincoln’s words and to rededicate ourselves to the ideals Lincoln conveyed there in 1863.
At 10:15am, the day’s events will begin with a wreath-laying ceremony at the Soldiers' National Monument, followed by the Dedication Day Program at the rostrum in the Soldiers’ National Cemetery at 10:30am. Lincoln portrayer George Buss will recite the Gettysburg Address and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service will hold a naturalization ceremony for citizen candidates.
This year, one of the nation's foremost Lincoln experts, Harold Holzer, will be delivering the Dedication Day keynote address. Holzer is currently the Jonathan F. Fanton Director of Hunter College's Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute and has authored, co-authored and edited over 50 books and has written more than 560 articles and reviews for magazines and scholarly journals- including Smithsonian, Life Magazine and American Heritage. His latest book, Lincoln and the Power of the Press: The War for Public Opinion, won the Lincoln Prize in 2015. Holzer also served for six years as a Chairman of The Lincoln Bicentennial Foundation and 10 years co-chairing for the U.S. Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission- appointed by President Clinton. He was also awarded the National Humanities Medal in 2008 by President Bush.
This event is free and open to the general public. A limited number of seats will be available to the general public, so feel free to bring lawn chairs. Parking for the event is provided at the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum and Visitor Center in Lot#3 with free shuttle service on the Gold Line Shuttle to the Cemetery. The Gold Line will operate from 8:00am to 6:30pm.
The entire Dedication Day event will be covered on YouTube and is being hosted by the Lincoln Fellowship of Pennsylvania, Gettysburg College, Gettysburg National Military Park and the Gettysburg Foundation. The ceremony will be streamed live here. If you miss it, it will be on demand around noon, later that same day. For more information visit, www.lincolnfellowship.org.
In the event of severe inclement weather, the program will relocate to the Gettysburg College Union Building Ballroom on West Lincoln Avenue. See the website for further details and directions.