Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Keillor to speak at Gettysburg Dedication Day; ceremony to welcome 16 new citizens

Radio program host Garrison Keillor, known for his folksy descriptions of everyday Americans, will talk about the heroes who gave their lives during the Civil War and the president who spoke eloquently about their sacrifice.

Garrison Keillor
Gettysburg National Military Park and the Lincoln Fellowship of Pennsylvania announced that the producer of American Public Media’s “A Prairie Home Companion” heard on NPR will present the Dedication Day address on Thursday, Nov. 19.

The event had been scheduled for the Soldiers’ National Cemetery at the park, but officials on Tuesday, Nov. 17, said it was being moved to the Gettysburg Union College Ballroom because of the threat of inclement weather.

“It is something of a miracle that the prosperous Illinois railroad lawyer who won the 1860 election turned out to be Abraham Lincoln,” Keillor said in a statement. “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.”

Since 1938, the fellowship on Nov. 19 has commemorated Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address and rededicated the cemetery where he spoke on that day in 1863. Others now help sponsor the event.

The day’s events begin at 10 a.m. and are open to the public. A naturalization ceremony for 16 new U.S. citizens is planned. Lincoln portrayer George Buss will recite the Gettysburg Address.

The event will be live streamed here.

Keillor, in his “The Writer’s Almanac," often has mentioned Lincoln and his legacy.

“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,” Keillor said. “But it is his plain humanity that so impresses us today. He feels like a contemporary.”


  1. There was a third featured speaker at Gettysburg that nearly everyone has forgotten. Charles Anderson gave his address in front of Lincoln, Seward and others and closed the festivities before he boarded the train with the President back to Washington. His speech was lost until about ten years ago. The three principal speeches need to be viewed as an ensemble to better understand Lincoln's iconic address. My new book, The Lost Gettysburg Address comes out this fall.Would you like to see an advance copy? Dave Dixon - Website I enjoy your blog.

  2. For those who cannot attend the ceremony in person, it has just been announced that the event will be live-streamed on YouTube beginning at 10:00 a.m. Here is the link: