Gettysburg Address Memorial
Backstory and Context
President Lincoln gave his now-famous speech on November 19, 1863, at the dedication of the Soldiers National Cemetery. Lincoln's position as President assured that he would speak last, but he was not the featured speaker. That honor belonged to Edward Everett, a celebrity orator in an era when Americans would travel for miles to hear a great speech. Everett spoke for his allotted two hours, which was followed by the singing of a hymn and Lincoln's short speech.
Unlike the speech Everett gave before him, Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address lasted approximately two minutes and his speech consisted of only ten sentences. The crowd was somewhat shocked by the President's brevity, and most early accounts of the event focused on Everett's speech. In future generations, however, the President's speech would become required reading and even the subject of memorization drills given its brevity and verve.
The bust of Lincoln at this memorial was made by Henry K. Bush-Brown. In addition to this bust, Brown made the equestrian sculptures of Generals Meade, Reynolds, and Sedgwick that are present at Gettysburg. The memorial is not situated at the exact spot where Lincoln delivered the speech. That location can be discovered by walking around 300 yards north, where there is a small plaque that also commemorates Lincoln's speech.
"The Confusing Gettysburg Address Memorial." Gettysburg Daily. May 16, 2008. Accessed November 2017. http://www.gettysburgdaily.com/gettysburg-address-location/