Dear President Obama, My family and I were disappointed to learn you’ve decided not to attend the 150th anniversary commemoration of Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address in Pennsylvania this November 19. I write this open letter to you in the hope you will reconsider. Your participation would not only add another chapter to the rich history of Gettysburg, but would serve as a reminder to the next generation of Americans of the sacrifices made on that battlefield — sacrifices for the principles of freedom, human dignity, and popular government.
My family has long had a connection to the Battle of Gettysburg, and this July I’ll be taking my wife and children to observe the 150th commemoration of the battle. In July 1863, my grandfather (yes, my grandfather!) fought in the battle, was wounded five times, and by a miracle, survived his wounds and subsequent internment in a POW hospital.