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Tuesday, November 19, 2013


The photographer charged with taking images of Lincoln's speech took his time setting up because he figured the
President would ramble on much like the speaker before him.  By the time the photographer focused on his task the
Lincoln had finished his speech.  The lensman's punishment is now no one knows who he was or who took the above photograph. President Lincoln is shown hatless and seated as indicated by an added arrow. 
Library of Congress image.   
 POTPOURRI OF IMAGES—President Abraham Lincoln’s speech at Gettysburg on November 19, 1863 lasted three minutes, which included ten sentences.
One of the few known images of Lincoln speech

Those 270 words have become legend in the letters of the English language.  It has been said that one picture is worth a thousand words, but in the example of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address those few words are now worth a thousand images.

Lincoln penned and polished his speech on the train enroute to the dedication of Gettysburg’s national cemetery.  He knew his speech was almost an afterthought. After all, the event organizers sent the President a late invitation asking that he
deliver a few appropriate words after the main speaker.   Lincoln was true to his hosts.

The main speaker spoke for two hours from memory before Lincoln rose from his chair in the field, put on his glasses and began reading from his notes.  Many feel the shortness of the President’ speech was typical of his sense of irony.  Lincoln did not suffer fools easily (not that the esteemed main speaker was a fool) but two hours was a long time for a speech that no one remembers (quiz: who was the first speaker? See PBS tonight for answer).  There was a bit of Mark Twain logic in Lincoln’s short speech.  Why follow a windbag speech with another.   Sum it up in pure Lincoln prose and call it a day.  What more could be said? 

PBS will present its version of the day with a new show tonight at 9 pm: Lincoln@Gettysburg.

Gettysburg, Pennsylvania on November 19, 1863.  The town
celebrated the dedication of the National Cemetery with speeches
and a parade
* Sidebar is a journalistic term for a secondary article (a sidelight) usually on the same topic that is published near, next or within the main feature.

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