Remembrance Day in Gettysburg can be a lot of fun, as long as you don’t take it too seriously. It is not a living history event and the period attire runs the gamut of really good and “oh dear…” complete with several versions of Lincoln, Lee and, yes he wasn’t at Gettysburg in 1863, Grant.
The last couple of years I have stayed at the Brickhouse Inn right on Baltimore as it splits off to Steinwehr, right on the parade route. The inn is actually two different houses and I get to stay in the second house, which was built in the 1830s but has been remodeled to accommodate all bedrooms and baths. Breakfasts at the Brickhouse are amazing and the rooms are very comfortable.
I arrived in Gettysburg Friday night and joined my friends to roam around town a bit. Friday is pretty low key with everyone getting ready for the parade and bands practicing. You can hear music all over town. In front of the Dobbin House, a fife and drum jam session happens.
In 2016, Remembrance Day and Dedication Day fell on the same day and on a weekend. I have never been able to attend Dedication Day as it is always held on the actual day of the Gettysburg Address. I was so pleased to be able to attend this great event.
The event is held at the National Cemetery in Gettysburg.
It was a beautiful day, not too cold and not hot. The keynote speaker this year was LaVar Burton; unfortunately we were too far back to get any good pictures. He gave a very good speech on the need for all Americans to come together and be tolerant of our differences and embrace our commonalities. After Mr. Burton, a Lincoln interpreter from Illinois gave the Gettysburg Address. Wow! This guy was good; he was tall, soft spoken, he even looked a lot like Lincoln. I was very impressed. Again, too far back to get good pictures.
The presentation also included a citizenship ceremony for new citizens. I have never seen a citizenship ceremony and was really surprised at how emotional it was for me. I’m very glad I was able to experience that.
After the presentation and ceremony was completed I walked up to the parade staging area to say hello to my friends in the 97th Pennsylvania out of Downingtown. Then back to the inn to watch the parade.
But the highlight of the weekend for me was the ball. I attended the ball held at the Lutheran Seminary Refectory hosted by Gettysburg Civil War Dance and Norma Calhoun and Wayne Belt. This ball is smaller than the others held during the weekend, but, to me, it feels much more authentic. Although I don’t dance very much, I really enjoy watching the others dance and listening to the music.
I finished off the weekend by visiting with Carolann and Don Schmitt. I never did make it to any of the sutlers set up at two of the hotels in town. It was a fun weekend, though.