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Gettysburg Address Dedication Day is Tuesday, November 19, 2019

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Claude Bauer

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Just a reminder that Dedication Day in Gettysburg is not the same event as the Remembrance Day Parade, although they are often confused because in some years their dates coincide.

Dedication Day is always held on Nov. 19 in the Soldiers National Cemetery starting early in the morning. This year it's on a Tuesday. So, if you go to the Remembrance Day parade Saturday expecting to see the reenactment of the Gettysburg Address, you'll be out of luck.

"November 19, 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."

Dedication Day typically includes a high profile keynote speaker--one year it was Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonin Scalia for example. There are also other speeches and a reading of the Gettysburg Address by a Lincoln Interpreter. One of the military service bands might be there to provide music along with a concert band from a local school. The National Park Service is also involved in the event. In addition, there's a swearing-in ceremony for new American citizens who have completed the naturalization process, which is followed by recorded comments from the President.

There is no parade connected with Dedication Day, but there is typically a short procession within the cemetery from the soldier's monument to the speaker's stand. The only reenactor presence in the ceremony is the Color Guard (of which I'll be part), and typically the bugler who plays Taps. Reenactors can attend the ceremony as spectators, but are not involved in the program and since no weapons are allowed in the cemetery by spectators, if you come in uniform, don't bring any. Otherwise, it's free and open to the public. Crowd sizes vary, but can be in the thousands, so come early if you want a seat!

For more information, see the Lincoln Fellowship website:
It's a great event--hope to see you there!

Here's a picture of the Color Guard from last year:
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Here are the new American citizens being sworn-in last year:
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A local school concert band in Civil War attire provided music last year. The Lincoln interpreter is also in this picture, as is the keynote speaker, the president of Gettysburg College.
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In 2013, Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonin Scalia was the keynote speaker.
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