Will President Obama Travel To Gettysburg Next Month?

obama_lincolnThe 150th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address is fast approaching. Click here for a rundown of events sponsored by the National Park Service in Gettysburg and various other organizations.

President Barack Obama has been invited to speak, but at this point has yet to confirm. We all know of the president’s close identification with our 16th president and for the obvious reasons his presence in Gettysburg should have been confirmed by now.

Why it hasn’t is a mystery to me, but perhaps these trips are scheduled late for security purposes. Given recent anti-NPS rhetoric, it would be nice to see the president side by side with Gettysburg Park officials.

So, do you think the president will travel to Gettysburg next month?

Civil War Memory in4

While I was in Gettysburg this past June for the CWI I took a few minutes to record a Civil War Trust Civil War in4 video with Garry Adelman on Civil War memory. I was way over-prepared and incredibly nervous. Let’s just say that I found it very difficult to whittle down this vast subject into a four minute segment, but somehow the editors managed to create some level of coherence out of the full recording.

Thanks so much to Garry for giving me my shot at stardom. I hope this serves as a useful introduction for teachers who are looking to introduce the subject to their middle school and high school classrooms. Finally, you need not worry as I promise not to quite my day job.

Appearance on CSPAN

This past weekend CSPAN aired the final panel from this past year’s Civil War Institute. The panel included yours truly and addressed a number of issues related to the war in 1863.

I haven’t been able to watch it on the road, which is a good thing since I can’t stand the sound of my own voice. Even worse, I sometimes exaggerate my claims as if I am blogging. It really is OK if visitors have fun on battlefields.

Is the Civil War Sesquicentennial Over?

It’s a question that is on my mind right now as I work to complete an editorial for the Atlantic. We’ve commemorated the trifecta of our Civil War Sesquicentennial, which in my mind includes Emancipation, Gettysburg, and the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry. Other than the 150th anniversary of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, what else is there to acknowledge? It will be interesting to see whether President Obama accepts an invitation to speak at Gettysburg in November.

It seems to me that the war in 1864-65 takes the kind of turn that is not easily framed in the form of commemorations and celebrations. We shall see.

Gettysburg 150 (from someone all but certain to love it)

Garry Adelman
Photo courtesy of National Park Service

What follows is a guest post from my good friend, Garry Adelman, who shares his thoughts about last week’s Gettysburg commemoration.

I had been looking forward to the Gettysburg 150th commemoration for years. I knew—all Civil War people knew–it would be a big deal. Some could not wait to go; some treated it like the plague. That is Gettysburg. Fascination with the place, and resentment about its status as the Civil War Mecca of sorts, date back to the war itself as Gettysburg increasingly took its place as the war’s best-known battlefield.

Being obsessed with Gettysburg, I try my best to take a historian’s look at the place I love—I don’t call it the most important battle in, or the turning point of, the Civil War. Pickett’s Charge was not the biggest, bloodiest, or most consequential attack of the war.  But nonetheless, almost like a cliché, the Gettysburg Battlefield remains my favorite place—and not just among battlefields. It is my favorite place of any sort. So, I was all but certain to have a great week. And I did. Thing is, it was much, much more enjoyable, meaningful, cool and enlightening than I ever expected. In an adult life full of great Civil War experiences across the country, the Gettysburg 150 week topped them all. I am giddy as I write about it. Continue reading “Gettysburg 150 (from someone all but certain to love it)”