Paper Retracts 1863 Critique of Gettysburg Address

It was a pretty good speech after all, says Pennsylvania newspaper

By Newser Editors and Wire Services

Posted Nov 14, 2013 5:47 PM CST

(Newser) – It took 150 years, but a Pennsylvania newspaper said today it should have recognized the greatness of 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 retraction, which echoes Lincoln's now-familiar language, said the newspaper's November 1863 coverage was wrong when it described the speech as "silly remarks" that deserved a "veil of oblivion."

The paper now says it regrets the error of not seeing the "momentous importance, timeless eloquence and lasting significance" of the speech. "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. Read the retraction in full here.

President Abraham Lincoln is shown in a photograph by W.A. Thomson.
President Abraham Lincoln is shown in a photograph by W.A. Thomson.   (AP Photo/W.A. Thomson, File)
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