Nov. 19 - 150 years later, thousands gather to mark the anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address. Rough cut (no reporter narration).
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ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION)
Thousands gathered Tuesday at the site of one of the bloodiest battles of the U.S. Civil War to mark the 150th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address, which remains one of the best-known pieces of political oratory in the nation's history.
When President Abraham Lincoln arrived at the Soldiers National Cemetery four months after the pivotal Battle of Gettysburg, the field was still an open wound, littered with the carcasses of thousands of horses. Seven thousand soldiers had died in the three days of fighting and 40,000 more were wounded.
At the time, his short tribute to the dead was meant as a second act to a long commemoration by former Massachusetts governor and Senator Edward Everett, a renowned orator.
But it was Lincoln's two-minute speech, calling for national unity, that stood the test of time.
"Today, more so than ever, the legacy of the Gettysburg address reminds us all that human freedom and equality is a struggle that did not end with the Civil War or even 100 years later with the civil rights movement. It is a struggle that still challenges us today," said Bob Kirby, superintendent of Gettysburg National Military Park.
Speaker after speaker acknowledged the enduring nature of the address and the man who gave it.
"His words were simple, his faith was deep," said Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett, "his genius was so profound it could be dispensed in those 272 words and yet shape decades, nay centuries, of thought and debate about what it means to be in the United States of America."
Lincoln impersonator James Getty delivered the iconic address that famously begins, "Four score and seven years ago."
The celebration concluded with Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia swearing in 16 people as U.S. citizens. That number was chosen because Lincoln was the nation's 16th president.