19 Nov 2017

Gettysburg Remembrance Day

Gettysburg Remembrance Day

As Pennsylvania prepares this Remembrance Day weekend to commemorate the establishment of Soldiers’ National Cemetery in 1863 following the Battle of Gettysburg, it’s well worth reflecting with reverence for the fallen and the maimed on the occasion. An estimated 51,000 soldiers were killed, wounded, captured or missing after America’s deadliest battle.

Three days of fierce fighting there ended Gen. Robert E. Lee’s second invasion of the North. On Nov. 19, 1863, President Lincoln delivered brief remarks at ceremonies dedicating the battlefield’s new cemetery. Today, his speech is considered one of the greatest in American history, known far and wide as the Gettysburg Address.

Over the years, the Civil War Trust has preserved a total of 1,020 acres of the Gettysburg battlefield, and restored land to its wartime appearance. In 2017, thanks to our generous donors, we have saved two parcels at Gettysburg that witnessed some of the most devastating fighting in the battle’s opening hours. The Trust and our partners have also fought off several attempts to build a gambling casino at Gettysburg.

In recent days, we debuted a 5-minute, animated video introduction to the famed Gettysburg Cyclorama. We are partnering with the Hirshhorn museum in Washington, D.C., and Gettysburg National Military Park to draw more attention to this amazing 19th-century panoramic painting and a brand-new contemporary-art meditation on it, artist Mark Bradford’s circular “Pickett’s Charge” series at the Hirshhorn.

Though distinct and different from each other, both artworks speak to the drama, human sacrifice and enduring appeal of the climactic action in the Battle of Gettysburg, and all that it represents. Lincoln, speaking of a nation “dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal,” eloquently reminded his listeners of the soldiers’ valor upon this landscape: “The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract.”

Today, it is especially fitting and proper that we ponder the nation’s ideals and what happened on this hallowed ground. At Gettysburg and many other places every day of the year, for 30 years the Civil War Trust has worked to preserve the land Americans so cherish.


American Battlefield Trust

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