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The 150th Anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg - TV Smart Talk

Written by Nell McCormack Abom | Apr 4, 2013 8:42 AM

This year marks the 150th Anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg. The commemoration of that history-changing event begins April 6, 2013 with the Gettysburg 150 Music Festival at the Majestic Theater.  It culminates in November with a Remembrance Day Illumination and the 150th Anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. President Barack Obama has been invited to attend this fall’s events. We’ll explore the anniversary plans on Smart Talk, tonight at 8, on witf-TV.

The Gettysburg Convention & Visitors Bureau expects four million people from around the world to take part in the year-long commemoration. This year marks the biggest anniversary since the 75th when the last veterans of the Civil War battle were able to attend. Norris Flowers, president of the Gettysburg CVB, will share details about many of the festivities. The CVB hopes to build a renewed sense of local civic pride in the monumental history created in our region’s backyard.

Allen Guelzo, Ph.D., is the Henry R. Luce III Professor of the Civil War Era at Gettysburg College, where he also serves as director of the Civil War Era Studies Program. Guelzo authored the books, Abraham Lincoln: Redeemer President and Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation: The End of Slavery in America. He will share with us how the battle forever changed the fate of this bustling town and our nation, and how that legacy is felt still today.

Before the Civil War, Gettysburg was a leader in the carriage-making industry. Fighting destroyed much of the town and scarred its residents. Not long after the war, people from throughout the country began traveling to Gettysburg to discover what happened on these hallowed fields. Their arrival transformed tourism into Gettysburg’s leading industry. Yet, we hear so much about the movement of troops and war strategy in the Gettysburg battle that we often overlook the human connections to the town and her people. Much of the family narratives come alive through diaries that have been preserved. The Adams County Historical Society has one of the most comprehensive collections.

A historian who loves to connect those dots is Debra Sandoe McCauslin. McCauslin is a descendant of George Washington Sandoe, the first soldier to die at the Battle of Gettysburg. McCauslin appeared recently on Radio Smart Talk to discuss how slaves escaped from the south and made their way to Adams County and freedom. She is the author and publisher of the book, Yellow Hill: Reconstructing the Past Puzzle of a Lost Community. McCauslin owns For the Cause Productions, a company that provides Underground Railroad tours in Adams County and the “Echoes from the Past: African-American Voices” tour in Gettysburg.

Share your thoughts on the best way to memorialize the Battle of Gettysburg on its 150th anniversary. Call in live tonight at 8 to 1-800-729-7532, email us at, post a comment here or to Facebook.

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