Press Room

Gettysburg Address 150th Anniversary

Abraham Lincoln

November 19, 2013

On November 19, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln was invited to speak at the official dedication ceremony for the National Cemetery in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, the site of one of the bloodiest battles of the U.S. Civil War.

The President was not a featured speaker that day. But the brief and moving 273 words he composed have survived as one of the most important speeches in American history.

The Historical Society of Rockland County invites our members and supporters to take a moment today to mark the 150 Anniversary of the Gettysburg Address:

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live.

It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this. But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate—we can not consecrate—we can not hallow—this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract.

The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom —and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."

Roy P. Basler, ed., Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln. This text of the Gettysburg Address is from the "Bliss Copy," one of several versions Lincoln wrote. It is believed to be the final version.


Coming in 2014 to the Historical Society of Rockland County:

Lincoln and New York, a traveling panel exhibition from the New-York Historical Society that "probes the myths and controversies surrounding Abraham Lincoln. . . . Visitors who think they know everything about Lincoln will be startled to see so much that is new." The panels will be enhanced with displays of Rockland County items related to the Civil War from the Historical Society's Permanent Collection.

Information about this special exhibition and other Civil War Sesquicentennial events will be posted at www.RocklandHistory.org as they become available.

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