Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell today offered keynote remarks at the ceremony honoring the 150th anniversary of President Lincoln's Gettysburg Address. The ceremony at Gettysburg National Military Park was attended by National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis, Gettysburg Superintendent Bob Kirby, Governor Tom Corbett, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, U.S. Senators Bob Casey and Pat Toomey, U.S. Representative Scott Perry, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian James McPherson, and many NPS employees, volunteers and community members.
The observance took place in Gettysburg's Soldiers' National Cemetery and featured a reading of the Gettysburg Address by Lincoln portrayer James Getty. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services also administered the Oath of Allegiance to sixteen new American citizens following the ceremony.
In the spirit of President Lincoln's historic address, Secretary Jewell limited her formal remarks to 272 words.
Secretary Jewell's remarks, as prepared for delivery:
One hundred fifty years ago, Abraham Lincoln said, "the world will little note, nor long remember what we say here." He was wrong. Just as the battle that raged on these fields stands at the vortex of American history, Lincoln's words stand at the vortex of our national consciousness.
Hearing them, we are reminded of the sacrifice of so many for freedom. We are likewise reminded of our long journey, still on-going, to fulfill the fundamental proposition that indeed all men and women are created equal and deserve the full benefit of this freedom that has been purchased at such great price.
The steps on this journey are marked by eloquence. The patriot who regretted he had but one life to give for his country. The president who affirmed our resolve on a day that will live in infamy. The courageous woman whose simple "No" on an Alabama bus gave birth to choruses of "We Shall Overcome." The passenger above another Pennsylvania field, who declared "Let's Roll," giving voice to a nation battered by terrorism.
But no words are greater than those spoken here by a simple man, born in a log cabin, who not only saved the American union but also came to symbolize its greatest virtues of humility, honesty, and decency.
His words, chiseled on the walls of his memorial, are likewise chiseled on our hearts. They tell us what it means to be an American. They call us to unfinished work, not just to win a war, but to continue to perfect our nation and a government that is truly "of the people, by the people, for the people."