One hundred and fifty years ago today Lincoln gave his now-famous Gettysburg Address. Did you know he wasn’t actually the featured speaker that day? I didn’t know that until I went to Gettysburg just over a year ago with my cousin S. Lincoln made some “dedicatory remarks” after Edward Everett spoke for two hours. But it is Lincoln’s short speech that is remembered.
There are scholars who can debate eloquently about the text of the speech (the exact wording is contested) and the precise location it was delivered at and all the layers of meaning. I am not one of them. But I can tell you that standing in the Solder’s National Cemetery on that quiet October day, I felt the weight of the years and of the terrible sacrifices made on both sides. I can only imagine what it felt like on the day Lincoln delivered the Address, with the losses barely four and a half months old and the war still rolling on.
I wish I had the time to try and capture the range of emotions from that day – we covered a number of famous sites, though we organized our own tour. I don’t even have all the pictures sorted (yes, even a year later – I’ve been busy taking new pictures). But here are a couple of my favorites from the Cemetery out of the hundreds my cousin and I took between us that day. Someday I hope to share more of them with you.
More than 6,000 US servicemen are buried at the Cemetery, including 3,580 Union soldiers killed in the Civil War. Nearly half the Civil War burials are unknown soldiers.