Saturday, December 06, 2008

News---Will Obama's Inaugural Procession Start in Gettysburg?

Obama Inaugural Procession To Start In Gettysburg?, Erin James, Evening Sun, December 5, 2008.

An established heritage organization wants Obama to begin his Jan. 20 inaugural procession to Washington, D.C., in Gettysburg - the northernmost point of Journey Through Hallowed Ground's 175-mile corridor through Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia. Journey Through Hallowed Ground President Cate Magennis Wyatt said the procession would give more people the opportunity to participate in the historic event and would fit into Obama's inauguration theme of "A New Birth of Freedom," which is derived from President Abraham Lincoln's famous Gettysburg Address. The organization sent its proposal in a letter to Obama's Presidential Inaugural Committee and has enlisted the help of state and local officials to lend the idea support. "We don't know if they're going to take us up on this, but we thought we would ask," Wyatt said.

Presidential Inaugural Committee spokeswoman Chris Mather said she did not know Thursday whether the proposal was being considered, however, and could not provide further information. The letter was signed by officials in the municipalities Obama would pass through, including Gettysburg Borough Council President Dick Peterson and Cumberland Township Manager Flo Ford. Peterson said the letter was signed about a month ago, and officials are now waiting for a response. He said a visit from Obama in Gettysburg "would be wonderful." "Whether it's coming to fruition is another thing," he said.

Ford said the municipal advisory committee, of which she and Peterson are members, was asked to support the idea by Journey Through Hallowed Ground staff. "I wouldn't have signed the letter if I didn't think it was a good idea," she said. Wyatt said the Journey Through Hallowed Ground has also reached out to Gettysburg Foundation President Robert Wilburn for help soliciting support from Gov. Ed Rendell. Foundation spokeswoman Dru Neil confirmed that a discussion between Wilburn and Journey staff had taken place but said no further action has yet been taken. The procession idea was partly inspired by Obama's reference to the Founding Fathers in his victory speech, Wyatt said. A history-themed inaugural procession seems to fit the president-elect, she said.

"That was basically in response to the fact that clearly the president-elect has a very keen and sobering appreciation for our history and our heritage," Wyatt said. If Obama and the inaugural committee accept the proposal, the president-elect would begin his procession in Gettysburg and travel the Hallowed Ground corridor on Route 15 through Maryland. The route would take him to the Dulles Toll Road and directly to the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., Wyatt said. Millions of people are planning to attend the inauguration ceremony on Jan. 20, but most of them won't be anywhere near the event. A procession would allow more to participate, Wyatt said.

An Obama inaugural procession would not be the first in history. In 1993, President Clinton began a 120-mile procession to Washington from Monticello, Va., at the home of Thomas Jefferson. It never happened, but an Obama visit to Gettysburg had been a rumored possibility since the Illinois senator with similarities to President Lincoln decided to run for office nearly two years ago. But an inaugural procession to Washington would be significant not only to Gettysburg, Wyatt said. "It would be a big deal for everybody," she said.

Text Source: Evening Sun, December 5, 2008.

Image Source: New York Times

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