'Lincoln' director Steven Spielberg to speak at Gettysburg memorial
Steven Spielberg isn’t ready to let go of the 16th U.S. president just yet.
Just days after his epic historical drama Lincoln opens in national release, the Oscar-winning filmmaker will serve as the keynote speaker at the ceremony marking the 149th anniversary of The Gettysburg Address.
The National Park Service announced his participation in the annual event, which commemorates both that iconic speech and the founding of the Soldiers’ National Cemetery. Lincoln was invited to speak at the Nov. 19, 1863 consecration of the graveyard, delivering remarks that he said “the world will little note, nor long remember.”
In a statement, Spielberg said is was “an honor to be asked to speak at such a hallowed place.”
There are few places in the United States considered as sacred. Even Lincoln noted in his address, “in a larger sense, we can not dedicate, we can not consecrate, we can not hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract.”
The events in Spielberg’s film, which stars Daniel Day-Lewis as Lincoln, take place long after The Gettysburg Address during the final few months of the president’s life and focus on his efforts to establish the 13th Amendment, forever outlawing slavery in the U.S. Constitution. But the famous speech still plays an integral role in the opening scene of the movie, depicted in the trailer, in which soldiers still fighting the Civil War, both black and white, recite lines from it to him — proving just how wrong he was about those words being not long remembered.
The National Park Service says the ceremony will begin with a wreath-laying at the Soldiers’ National Monument, followed by Spielberg’s speech at the rostrum, built on the site where Lincoln spoke. After that, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will have a naturalization ceremony for sixteen immigrants who are becoming U.S. citizens.
There’s one more bit of pageantry: “As has become a custom, Lincoln portrayer James Getty will recite the Gettysburg Address,” the Park Service reports.
After Day-Lewis’ uncanny performance in the film, Getty has a hard act to follow.
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