9/21/2014

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Newspaper: Sorry for panning Gettysburg Address 150 years ago

Newspaper: Sorry for panning Gettysburg Address 150 years ago
The "Gettysburg Portrait", a head-on photograph of Abraham Lincoln taken on November 8th, 1863; two weeks before his Gettysburg Address. By Alexander Gardner
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HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — It took 150 years, but a Pennsylvania newspaper said Thursday it should have recognized the greatness of President Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address at the time it was delivered.

The Patriot-News of Harrisburg, about 35 miles northeast of Gettysburg, retracted a dismissive editorial penned by its Civil War-era predecessor, The Harrisburg Patriot & Union.

The president's speech is now considered a triumph of American oratory. But the retraction notes the newspaper's November 1863 coverage said it amounted to "silly remarks" that deserved a "veil of oblivion."

The paper now says it regrets the error of not seeing the speech's "momentous importance, timeless eloquence and lasting significance."

"By today's words alone, we cannot exalt, we cannot hallow, we cannot venerate this sacred text, for a grateful nation long ago came to view those words with reverence, without guidance from this chagrined member of the mainstream media," the paper wrote, echoing the words of the address.

Separately, the paper also described its coverage as the national cemetery was dedicated, nearly five months after the pivotal battle that repelled a Confederate Army advance from Virginia into Pennsylvania. More than 3,500 Union soldiers killed in the battle are buried there.

During the Civil War, the Patriot & Union was a Democratic newspaper that was staunchly opposed to Lincoln.

An event to remember the 150th anniversary of the speech is scheduled for Tuesday in Gettysburg.
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