In this divisive time in our nation's history, the Gettysburg Foundation is committed to advancing a non-partisan, historically-informed message that serves our nation. It is a message of humility, inclusivity and democracy–a message of civility and healing. This is the message of Gettysburg Revisited.
We know Gettysburg as the site of the fierce Civil War battle in 1863.
We think of the blue and the gray; the North and the South.
We think of the three-day battle that resulted in the bloodiest conflict of the war. We think of the more than 51,000 casualties. We think of a cemetery, Lincoln and the historic Gettysburg Address.
But we often overlook the 156 years following the battle. Ever since the last shot was fired, Gettysburg has been less of a place of bitter conflict and more of a source of healing, kindness and remembrance.
We shall nobly save, or meanly lose, the last best hope on earth.
Annual Message to Congress
December 1, 1862
Gettysburg inspires. It brings us together. It reminds us of the profound humanity essential to maintaining our democracy:
- Immediately after the battle, local residents and neighboring volunteers cared for the injured soldiers of both armies.
- In reunions marking the 50th and 75th anniversaries of the battle, veterans cast aside old differences and returned to Gettysburg to reconcile.
- At his nearby farm, President Eisenhower entertained world leaders in quiet visits during turbulent times.
In a message to Congress around the time he issued the Emancipation Proclamation, President Abraham Lincoln observed we Americans could "nobly save or meanly lose" our democracy.
We too live in a divisive time. Divisiveness can make us mean, and as Lincoln warned, it is a threat to lose our democracy–our “last best hope on earth.”
It’s time to reconnect to the inspirational messages of Gettysburg. It’s time to move to a more noble course of actions. It’s time for humility, civility and inclusivity for our democracy.
These are the lessons of Gettysburg.
This is Gettysburg Revisited.