Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address is undoubtedly seen as one of the most iconic speeches in American history.
On its 155th anniversary, speakers returned to the spot and took to a stage to highlight Lincoln’s call for freedom and equality.
Historians believe Lincoln never imagined his short remarks would draw thousands of people back to the same spot to relive that exact moment in time.
“This is our democracy, as Abraham Lincoln said, and it’s ours to shape,” Gettysburg College President Janet Morgan Riggs said.
Speakers said Lincoln’s message has withstood the test of time.
“The fact that so many in this country today have to really fight for basic dignity and equality and respect is something we should all be thinking about and trying to address as individuals,” Riggs said.
It’s why the Dedication Day ceremony now wraps up with the swearing in of new American citizens. For immigrants like Jacob Heirman, it’s an honor to have so many to witness their oath.
“I’m just happy and glad I’m a United States citizen after all these years,” Heirman said. “It’s really great.”
The new American citizens say the process wasn’t easy, but they’re proud to part of a nation remembering Lincoln’s lessons.
The Dedication Day ceremony happens every year at the Soldiers’ National Cemetery in Gettysburg, where over 3,000 Union soldiers are laid to rest.