Gettysburg Address to be staged in Oregon City
Oregon City will host a recitation of the Gettysburg Address this weekend in a free Remembrance Day event sponsored by the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War.
President Lincoln gave the Gettysburg Address in November 1863, following one of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War.
Although about 4 million slaves were freed, the work of the Civil War may never be complete, said Steve Betschart of the Oregon-based chapter of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, the Col. Edward D. Baker Camp No. 6.
"Remembrance Day is a celebration of the anniversary of Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, the impact of which was pretty obvious as a universal statement of hope and unification that's based on the tremendous sacrifice of these soldiers," Betschart said. "As he said, we can never repay them for what they did in the Civil War, but we can continue the work that they started for unification and equality so that their sacrifice wasn't in vain."
Stephen Holgate, who will read the Gettysburg Address at Mountain View Cemetery, was named the best Lincoln actor in American by a member of the National Lincoln Bicentennial Commission.
George Vogt, former executive director of the Oregon Historical Society, called Holgate the "most convincing presidential impersonator" he had seen.
"Not only does he look the part, but his historical knowledge and professional acting skills are first-rate," Vogt said.
Over 100 Civil War veterans are buried at Mountain View Cemetery in Oregon City, and eight previously unmarked graves of veterans there recently received headstones. Headstones of Abraham Dull, Abraham Edmunds, Jesse Graves, Francis Naught, Sidney Richardson, Edwin Scruton, Calvin J. Smith and James P. Watkins will be dedicated with military honors and a musket salute during the Nov. 16 ceremony.
"This is part of our program with the Sons to look after the burial of the Union veterans, and it's our job to make sure that all of the approximately 20,000 veterans of the Civil War buried in Oregon have proper headstones," Betschart said.
Founded in 2004, the local chapter of the Sons of Union Veterans recently achieved a milestone of installing 150 gravestones from the U.S. Veterans Administration. Betschart said the organization has now installed a total of 156 headstones and looked after hundreds more. Baker Camp reached the milestone Aug. 7 when its volunteers installed a new VA headstone on the unmarked grave of a Civil War veteran who had been buried at Mountain View Cemetery for nearly 118 years before receiving a proper monument.
What: Ceremony honoring the 156th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address
When: 11 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 16
Where: Mountain View Cemetery, 500 Hilda St., Oregon City
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