SPRINGFIELD – The Old State Capitol State Historic Site will mark the 150th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address next month by displaying more than 3,500 flags and holding a special “Remembrance Day” ceremony to honor the soldiers of yesterday and today.
The “Hallowed Ground” display of flags runs Nov. 11-19. It consists of 3,512 small flags planted on the Old State Capitol grounds – one flag for each marked grave at the Soldier’s National Cemetery at Gettysburg . Visitors will be able to tie ribbons to the flags to honor loved ones who have served in the military.
The display takes its name from Abraham Lincoln’s famous address at the dedication of the Gettysburg cemetery on Nov. 19, 1863. He said: “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 free “Hallowed Ground” exhibit begins Nov. 11, Veterans Day, at 9 a.m. The 114th Regiment Illinois Volunteer Infantry (Re-activated) will raise a flag on the Old Capitol lawn prior to the start of the Veterans Day Parade in downtown Springfield .
And on Nov. 16, the Old State Capitol will be the scene of a special Remembrance Day ceremony at 2 p.m. to honor those who have given their lives fighting in all wars. Remembrance Day is a tradition in the town of Gettysburg . It’s held on the Saturday closest to Nov. 19, the anniversary of the address.
The free Old State Capitol event begins with the 114th Regiment Illinois Volunteer Infantry presenting colors, followed by a message from Jerry Kowalski, national Chaplain for the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War.
The Lincoln Troubadours will perform music from the 1860’s. The Old State Capitol Chorale will sing patriotic selections accompanied by the144th Army Band Illinois National Guard.
The tribute is part of the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency’s commemoration of the Gettysburg Address sesquicentennial, which includes events at the Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, the Old State Capitol and the Lincoln Log Cabin. For details, please visit www.GettysburgAddress150.com.
The Old State Capitol State Historic Site, administered by the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, is open Tuesday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The site will open November 11-16 and 19, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. for this special event.