Monday, August 26, 2013

Gettysburg College "First Walk" Honors Lincoln

I sometimes search the Internet for news items pertaining to Abraham Lincoln. While searching earlier today, I learned about a tradition at Gettysburg College (Pennsylvania) which I'd never heard of before now.

Each year upon the resumption of the new academic year, Gettysburg College holds "First Walk" for its incoming Freshmen. Older students, faculty, and members of the community escort the Freshmen on a walk which retraces the steps Lincoln took through the town when he was there on November 18 and 19, 1863 for the dedication of the National Cemetery. Lincoln walked with students of Gettysburg College (founded 1832) and this annual walk commemorates the original one.

The "First Walk" participants walk through Gettysburg to the National Cemetery where a speaker addresses the incoming Freshmen.  This year's speaker was Susan Eisenhower, head of the Eisenhower Institute at the college, and a granddaughter of President Dwight D. Eisenhower. She read a few lines from Lincoln's Gettysburg Address and encouraged the students to take his challenge to make the nation a better one.

You can read more details about this year's "First Walk" in this article as well as this one. The first link provides video and audio coverage of both the walk and Eisenhower's speech.

It's wonderful that Gettysburg College annually commemorates Lincoln's walk through the small village as he was about to give the greatest speech in United States history.

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