Pennsylvania paper retracts editorial panning Gettysburg Address

Fri Nov 15, 2013 9:37am EST

1 of 2. The Lincoln Memorial is pictured devoid of tourists in Washington, October 1, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Jason Reed

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(Reuters) - A Pennsylvania newspaper on Thursday retracted an 1863 editorial that dismissed President Abraham Lincoln's now revered Gettysburg Address delivered during the U.S. Civil War as "silly remarks" deserving a "veil of oblivion."

The editorial published on November 24, 1863, missed the "momentous importance, timeless eloquence, and lasting significance" of Lincoln's speech delivered days earlier, The Patriot-News of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, said on its website.

Lincoln's brief address delivered at the dedication of a national cemetery at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, has grown to become one of the best known speeches in U.S. history. The 150th anniversary of the address will be observed on Tuesday.

"Our predecessors, perhaps under the influence of partisanship, or of strong drink, as was common in the profession at the time, called President Lincoln's words 'silly remarks,' deserving 'a veil of oblivion'," the newspaper said.

"The Patriot-News regrets the error."

The battle at Gettysburg months before on July 1-3, 1863, is regarded as a turning point in the Civil War, the bloodiest war in American history that preserved the United States as a single country and led to the abolition of slavery.

The Patriot & Union, as the newspaper was formerly named, dismissed Lincoln's words as a political overture.

"We pass over the silly remarks of the President. For the credit of the nation we are willing that the veil of oblivion shall be dropped over them, and that they shall be no more repeated or thought of," the editorial read.

Harrisburg is about 40 miles northeast of Gettysburg.

(Reporting by Eric M. Johnson; editing by David Bailey and Tom Pfeiffer)

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Comments (3)
ErnestPayne wrote:
Harrisburg? Not surprising.

Nov 15, 2013 10:12am EST  --  Report as abuse
Binderowner wrote:
Interesting to look back at history – it was generally considered at the time the speech was insignificant, and that the 2+ hr oratory given by the “other” speaker was “superior” – as he was the MAIN speaker – anyone know NOW who that man was? (Edward Everett).

Nov 15, 2013 11:18am EST  --  Report as abuse
hawkeye19 wrote:
Strong drink? In your so-called “profession”? Only at the White House when drinking Obama’s taxpayer booze.

Nov 15, 2013 3:13pm EST  --  Report as abuse
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