Each November, the Gettysburg community comes together to commemorate the anniversary of the Gettysburg Address. Just as Abraham Lincoln inspired Americans with his immortal words, we see our preservation efforts at Lee’s Headquarters and elsewhere at Gettysburg as inspiring future generations to honor the sacrifices made by common soldiers, both North and South.
This Remembrance Day, I find myself humbled by their example as well as grateful and proud of our collective efforts to protect the land where so many Americans gave the last full measure of devotion. Together we have saved nearly 1,000 acres of hallowed ground at Gettysburg that is vital to telling the story of our nation’s bloodiest battle. This is an incredible accomplishment for which I commend and thank you.
I also find myself thinking back today to the critical and backbreaking work you and I undertook to prevent casino gambling within cannon shot of Gettysburg National Military Park. As many of you know, we defeated casino proposals not once, but twice, in 2006 and 2011. Tens of thousands of preservation advocates signed petitions against the project, and hundreds of prominent historians called for its rejection. Celebrities and military heroes joined with historians and concerned citizens to recite the Gettysburg Address and urge the casino to move elsewhere. Together, these efforts helped to raise awareness about the threat and highlight a simple fact that you already know: that Gettysburg holds a special place in the hearts of all Americans who cherish our nation’s history.
I hope you’ll pause for a moment today to take pride in the hallowed ground we have preserved together in Gettysburg and across the country that provides our fellow countrymen and women with a solemn and scenic place to connect to the defining moments of our shared history.
The Civil War Trust