Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, had a rendezvous with history. It was in this small town 150 years ago that the most famous battle of the American Civil War was fought. A series of activities, tributes, and exhibitions will be held in 2013 to commemorate the historic event.
Civil War's Most Tragic Battle
In July 1863, Union and Confederate soldiers clashed on the fields and in the streets of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, in what would become the most tragic – and famous – battle of the four-year American Civil War.
There were more than 50,000 casualties in the three day battle. The town of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, would never be the same.
Four months after the Battle of Gettysburg ended, President Abraham Lincoln visited the Pennsylvania town to deliver the Gettysburg Address. He didn't expect his 10-sentence speech to be long-remembered.
Instead, those famous words – four score and 20 years ago – have become among the most famous words ever uttered in the English language.
Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, and neighboring communities in both Pennsylvania and Maryland will commemorate the 150th Anniversary of this battle and Lincoln's Gettysburg Address throughout 2013.
An expected 4 million people from around the world are expected to visit the region.
"This is an exciting time for Gettysburg," says Norris Flowers, President of the Gettysburg Convention & Visitors Bureau.
"This anniversary will highlight not only the battle, but the fighting that occurred before and after Gettysburg, along with the heroic and tragic stories of the town's own citizens in 1863."
Gettysburg 150: Reflections of History
Two large battle re-enactments, Gettysburg National Military Park's Official Commemorative Ceremony – "A New Birth of Freedom," military and medical encampments, lectures and programmes, as well as special tours of Gettysburg and the battlefield will be held for 10 days – from 28 June through 7 July 2013- in what is being been dubbed "Gettysburg 150: Reflections of History".
There will also be the grand opening of the Seminary Ridge Museum, an experience dedicated to the first day's battle and Civil War medicine, as well as faith and race issues during the war.
Events in surrounding communities such as Cashtown, Hanover, Hunterstown, and Union Mills, Maryland, will also be held during this 10-day commemoration to bring further understanding to the events that led up to the Battle of Gettysburg in 1863.
"To fully understand the Battle of Gettysburg, it's important that visitors take the time to learn about these smaller battles that helped shape the major conflict in Gettysburg," Norris says.
"Our visitors are always hungry for more history, and the anniversary commemoration will provide people with some lesser-told stories of the Civil War."
Gettysburg Address – 150th Anniversary
In November 2013, to commemorate the 150th Anniversary of the Gettysburg Address and the dedication of the country's first national cemetery, a ceremony will be held in Gettysburg to highlight Lincoln's famous speech and to honour those same soldiers that the 16th president did nearly 150 years ago.
Remembrance Weekend – a time when Gettysburg pays tribute to the bravery and sacrifice of those 160,000 soldiers – will be held from 22 to 24 November 2013.
It will include a large-scale military parade on 23 November 2013, Civil War balls, and a variety of events for both re-enactors and the public.
Gettysburg has already been named a top destination for 2013 by the Associated Press, CNN.com, USA Today, the Miami Herald, and SmarterTravel.com. Gettysburg's 150th Anniversary was also designated the top event in the United States in 2013 by the American Bus Association.
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