President Obama will not attend the 150th anniversary celebration of Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address

Believed to be the “Last Portrait of President Abraham Lincoln”

  • Barack  Obama will not attend the 150th anniversary celebration of Abraham Lincoln’s  Gettysburg Address on November 19
  • Interior  Secretary Sally Jewell will represent him
  • Some  Pennsylvania newspapers have accused the president of  ‘cowardice’

By  Associated Press Reporter and Daily Mail Reporter

“This is nothing less than a  profile in cowardice.”

President Barack Obama’s affinity for Abraham  Lincoln was on display through his political rise, but he won’t be on hand to  mark one of the 16th president’s signature moments.

Obama has refused to attend the 150th  anniversary of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address in  Pennsylvania on November 19.

His decision, which has not been explained,  has infuriated local media.

No show: U.S. President Barack Obama President has snubbed the historic Gettysburg 150th anniversary ceremony on November 19.
No show: U.S. President Barack Obama President has  snubbed the historic Gettysburg 150th anniversary ceremony on November 19U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally  Jewell  will represent the administration, sharing keynote speaker status with historian  James McPherson.

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett also plans  to attend the ceremony.

Newspapers in the Keystone State, which Obama  carried in both the 2008 and 2012 elections, have taken the president to task,  according to News  Max.

Local officials had planned for a possible  presidential visit for months.

‘For a president who has so demonstrably  associated himself with Lincoln — the heir of Lincoln’s policies who announced  his candidacy from the steps of the Old State Capitol in Springfield and used  the Lincoln Bible (twice) at his inauguration — this is nothing less than a  profile in cowardice,’ Donald Gilliland of Patriot News in the state capital of  Harrisburg wrote.

‘How could he not pay his respects to those  whose ultimate sacrifices that  made his presidency possible?’ read an editorial  in the York Daily  Record.

‘How could he not visit and acknowledge the  new birth of freedom that is his — and our nation’s inheritance of that  battle?

‘Symbolism matters. President Obama could  have used this occasion to offer words  of healing and reconciliation — as his  Illinois forefather once did. Instead he  is sending us a little-known Cabinet member to do the job of a president, of a  statesman, of an orator. Unacceptable.’

Historic: The 150th anniversary celebration of Abraham  Lincoln’s historic Gettysburg Address falls on November 19.

Like Lincoln, Obama came to national  prominence through the politics of Illinois, where they both once served in the  Legislature.

Obama  began his presidential campaign in  Springfield, Illinois, a town with  deep ties to Lincoln; traced Lincoln’s 1861  train route in coming to  Washington and even took the oath of office on  Lincoln’s Bible.

For months, planners had held out hope that  Obama would be at Soldier’s  National Cemetery for the reading of the famous  oration, first delivered on November 19, 1863, more than four months after the  Civil War’s  pivotal battle.

More than 3,500 Union soldiers killed in the  Battle of Gettysburg are buried there.

McPherson, a top Civil War historian who won  the Pulitzer for ‘Battle Cry of Freedom’, said he was surprised by Obama’s  decision.

‘I thought he would probably come. He  identifies with Lincoln and knows a great deal about him,’ McPherson  said.

‘It might have been an opportunity for him to  say something important, maybe enhance a tarnished image. He’s going through a  rough patch right now.’

Obama, the nation’s first black president,  has said he feels a ‘special gratitude’ to Lincoln, who led the fight to end  slavery in the United States.

White House press secretary Jay Carney  refused to comment on Obama’s decision.

‘I think that is an enormously significant  event in our history, and I think Americans will take the appropriate time to  consider the speech that was delivered there. I would simply say that I have no  updates on the president’s schedule,’ he said, according to The Washington Times.

‘I think all Americans will share and marvel  in the remembrance of that important date in our  history.’

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A 1862 photograph of U.S. President Abraham Lincoln by Mathew Brady.
A 1862 photograph of U.S. President Abraham Lincoln by  Mathew Brady

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