, Salem, MA

November 18, 2013

Letter: A historical ceremony without a president

The Salem News

---- — To the editor:

On Nov. 19, this country will commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address. On that day, Nov. 19, 1863, President Lincoln dedicated an area that was part of a vast field where the great battle of Gettysburg was fought. This new cemetery was where 3,500 brave men who gave their lives for what they believed in were laid to rest at this hallowed site. President Lincoln and his military leaders knew this battle had to be won to overcome the South. During his short, eloquent speech, the president spoke to a divided nation and said, “We are now engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation or any nation so conceived and dedicated can long endure.” The president concluded by saying that “this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom and that we highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain.”

I recently read an article in reference to President Obama and Vice President Biden not attending this memorial ceremony. Every year, part of a president’s obligation is to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery. I find it difficult to reason with for several reasons. President Obama followed the same political path to the White House as Abraham Lincoln, announcing his run for the presidency from Springfield, Ill. When taking the oath of office for the first time, his left hand was on the Bible President Lincoln used in 1861.

I hope we never forget these thousands of men and women who sacrificed their lives to reunite this nation. As President Lincoln said, “They did not die in vain.”

Nicholas Daley