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As a relative of two veterans of the most significant battle in our nation’s history, I share the outrage of a number of Pennsylvania’s daily newspapers in what the Washington Times subheadlined as:

“Obama Snubs Historic Battle Site on Its 150th Anniversary.”

President Obama was scheduled to attend and speak at the 150th anniversary of President Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. But the White House announced that Obama’s scheduled place will be taken by Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell on Nov. 19 at the Soldiers’ National Cemetery.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney would not give an explanation.

Instead, he declared:

“I think that is an enormously significant event in our nation’s history, and I think Americans will take the appropriate time to consider the speech that was delivered there. I would simply say that I have no updates on the president’s schedule. I think all Americans will share and marvel in the remembrance of that important date in our history.”

“All Americans” surely includes the president and commander in chief of our armed forces.

What on Earth is Obama doing on Nov. 19 that is important enough to keep him away from this 150th anniversary involving what so many Americans regard as one of the two greatest of all of our presidents?

There was no explanation from Carney as to what the president will be doing on Nov. 19.

  • The Gettysburg Times reported that local officials have spent months preparing for a potential visit by the president.
  • One writer for the Harrisburg, Penn., Patriot News contended, “Mr. Obama doesn’t have the stones to attend.”
  • The York, Penn., Daily Record called the decision “unacceptable” and contended: “Mr. Obama’s retreat from Gettysburg will linger long and bitter.”
  • Twenty-four presidents of the United States have visited Gettysburg since the summer of 1863. If Obama had not pulled out, this event would have allowed him a special opportunity to pay tribute to his fellow Illinoisan.
  • Writing for the Patriot News, journalist Donald Gilliland called Obama’s decision “nothing less than a profile in cowardice.”
  • The York Daily Record said that the president “is uninterested or unwilling” to visit and called that “deeply disappointing. Symbolism matters. President Obama could have used the occasion to offer words of healing and reconciliation – as his Illinois predecessor once did. Instead, he is sending us a little-known Cabinet member to do the job of a president, of a statesman, of an orator.”

On Nov. 19, it will be undeniably interesting – as well as depressing – to discover what on earth President Obama deemed more important than paying tribute to the 150th anniversary of his predecessor’s Gettysburg Address.

 

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