2015 Dedication Day Speaker

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Date: May 20, 2015
Contact: Tina M. Grim, 717-339-2104

Garrison Keillor to Speak at Gettysburg's Dedication Day in November
Garrison Keillor, host and producer of A Prairie Home Companion, a weekly radio program heard nation-wide on over 600 National Public Radio stations, will present the Dedication Day keynote address on November 19, 2015 in Soldiers' National Cemetery, Gettysburg National Military Park. 

Keillor commented, "It is something of a miracle that the prosperous Illinois railroad lawyer who won the 1860 election turned out to be Abraham Lincoln. He was a better man than anyone knew and a masterful writer, who gave us the Second Inaugural ("With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right"), and the classic of Gettysburg, on 11/19/63. Poor Edward Everett stood up and orated for two hours that day and went down in history as a pretentious gasbag and Lincoln gave his address that thousands and thousands of schoolchildren have memorized and learned what greatness sounds like. But it is his plain humanity that so impresses us today. He feels like a contemporary." 

On November 19, each year since 1938, the Lincoln Fellowship of Pennsylvania has commemorated Lincoln's Gettysburg Address and rededicated Soldiers' National Cemetery where Lincoln spoke. 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. 

Garrison Keillor (b. 1942, Anoka, MN) is the founder and host of A Prairie Home Companion on public radio and the author of numerous books, including several about the town of Lake Wobegon, and a collection of verse, O What A Luxury: Verses Lyrical, Vulgar, Pathetic &Profound. A member of the American Academy of Arts &Letters, he lives in St. Paul, Minnesota.  

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. 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 10:00 a.m., the day's events will begin with the Dedication Day Program at the rostrum in the Soldiers' National Cemetery, followed by a wreath laying ceremony at the Soldiers' National Monument. 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 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 8:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. 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 web site for further details and directions.

Last updated: May 20, 2015

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