A ceremony commemorating the reading of the Gettysburg Address was held at the Lucas County Veterans Memorial Park in Chariton Tuesday afternoon. Tuesday marked the 156th anniversary of the day the infamous speech was read by then President Abraham Lincoln on Nov. 19, 1863, in Gettysburg, Pa.
The Lucas County Veterans Memorial Park Committee put on the ceremony, which was attended by a small group of people.
An American flag that was flying at half-mast on one of the flagpoles at the park had flown over President Lincoln’s tomb in Springfield, Ill., a year ago on Nov. 19, 2018. The flag was flown at half mast due to the death of Iowa Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark Cady this past weekend.
Lucas County Veterans Memorial Park Committee Chairman Earl Comstock gave the opening welcome, in which he told about the flag that was at half-mast.
Tony Irving of Chariton sang the National Anthem. Veterans Memorial Park Committee member Melody Allen led everyone in saying “The Pledge of Allegiance.”
Following this, Matt Linser, the Young Adult Pastor of Cornerstone Community Church in Chariton, gave the invocation.
Memorial Park Committee member Roger Blunk gave a short history of the Gettysburg Address.
“When the Centennial year of our nation approached, people started to look at what we had accomplished as a nation in our first 100 years, after the Revolutionary War, the Civil War was front and center, and that brought about a new reading and understanding of President Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. It was no longer considered a partisan speech, but a National speech.
The road to Gettysburg for President Lincoln didn’t start on Nov. 18, 1863. But on a cold rainy morning, Feb. 11, 1861,when he addressed several hundred people from the rear of the train at the Great Western Railroad Station as he was leaving from Springfield to Washington D.C. Lincoln was president elect, to be sworn in as the 16th president of the United States. Seven southern states had already seceded from the Union.
When President Lincoln arrived in Gettysburg on the evening of Nov. 18, 1863, he was handed a telegram that lifted his spirits. Tad, his son, was feeling better. President Lincoln enjoyed an evening dinner and was serenaded by the Fifth New York Artillery Band. That evening he finalized his speech.
The purpose of President Lincoln’s trip to Gettysburg was to dedicate a National Cemetery to the Union Soldiers who were killed during the Battle of Gettysburg on July 1-3, 1863. That was the costliest battle of the Civil War as over 50,000 men fell as casualties during the three-day battle.
Read the November 21, 2019 edition of the Chariton Herald-Patriot for the rest of the story.