By Wendy Swanson
Sunday, October 23, 2022
The Dedication Day program will take place at the historic rostrum at Gettysburg National Cemetery (Photo credit: Gettysburg Foundation)
Each November all roads of Lincoln history lead to Gettysburg. This year is no different.
The iconic rostrum at Gettysburg National Cemetery once again will be the scene for the annual Dedication Day program on Saturday, November 19. That date, of course, is the anniversary – this year marks the 159th! - of Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address.
Guelzo, Meacham and Holzer too! This year’s program features powerhouse speakers. Dr. Allen Guelzo will be the keynote speaker. He will be joined on the rostrum by Jon Meacham who will present the Gettysburg Address, with comments. Meacham also will be featured at the Lincoln Fellowship of Pennsylvania Annual Meeting and Luncheon at the Wyndham Hotel after the ceremony. In addition, the pre-eminent Lincoln scholar, Harold Holzer, will introduce Meacham at the podium during the ceremony and will interview him during the luncheon. Holzer has been the keynote speaker at two previous Dedication Days and is a co-founder and chairman of The Lincoln Forum held annually in Gettysburg. This year’s Forum will have held its final session on the eve of Dedication Day.
Dr. Guelzo knows Gettysburg well. Now at Princeton, he is a former Director of Civil War Era Studies at Gettysburg College. Currently he serves as the Senior Research Scholar in the Humanities and Director of the Initiative on Politics and Statesmanship at Princeton. He is the author of Abraham Lincoln: Redeemer President; Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation: The End of Slavery in America; Lincoln and Douglas: The Debates That Defined America; and Gettysburg: The Last Invasion. His most recent books are Reconstruction: A Concise History and Robert E. Lee: A Life.
Jon Meacham won the Pulitzer Prize for his biography American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House. A renowned presidential historian, Meacham is a contributing writer to The New York Times Book Review and a contributing editor at Time. He is the Rogers Chair in the American Presidency at Vanderbilt University and is the author of several bestsellers. His newest biography is And There Was Light: Abraham Lincoln and the American Struggle.
November 19 will be a particularly busy day this year. A wreath-laying will start the Dedication Day morning at 10:15 a.m. at the National Soldiers' Monument, a short walk from the rostrum, followed by the main event at 10:30 a.m. Traditionally, Remembrance Day, Gettysburg’s annual tribute to the brave soldiers who fought there, takes place on the Saturday nearest Dedication Day. This year the nearest day is the actual day and as a result both events will be occurring on Saturday on the 19th. To commemorate Remembrance Day, Gettysburg holds a large parade featuring thousands of Civil War re-enactors winding through the town. That evening a remembrance illumination will take place at Soldiers National Cemetery from 5 to 9 p.m.
For information on the Fellowship luncheon, click here. All other events are free, are held outdoors and are open to the public.
November 19 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 Gettysburg National Cemetery where Lincoln spoke on this date.
Over the years, this annual event has grown and is now co-sponsored by Gettysburg National Military Park, the Gettysburg Foundation, and Gettysburg College.
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, and Stephen Spielberg have spoken at the ceremony. Now Dr. Guelzo and Jon Meacham are joining that list of the participants who help all of us to remember Lincoln’s words and to remind us to rededicate ourselves to the ideals Lincoln conveyed there in 1863.