Lincoln at Gettysburg

As part of a busy few weeks, I attended the Lincoln Forum in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania just before Thanksgiving. The Forum brings together hundreds of Lincoln enthusiasts and scholars to hear some of the most well-known and respected thinkers in the field. I was lucky enough to meet up with an old friend.

Selfie with George Buss

George Buss has been portraying Lincoln for decades. This year marks his second time commemorating Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address on Remembrance Day, November 19th, the 153rd anniversary of that day.

George Buss and Jon Willen

Photo courtesy of Jon Willen

In the photo above, George is joined by another friend, Jon Willen, who is a retired physician who, appropriately enough, plays a surgeon in Civil War reenactments. Between the two of them, it’s possible that George and Jon have spent more time in the 1860s than in any other decade. They were joined by many others on the battlefield for the commemoration.

Both were also at the Forum itself, with George, ahem, Abraham Lincoln, presenting parts of his first inaugural speech. The Forum also featured keynote presentations by Sidney Blumenthal (author of A Self-Made Man), Ron White, Jr. (American Ulysses), and Bud Robertson, Jr. (“After the Civil War”). Robertson also won the annual Richard Current Nelson Award of Achievement.

Lincoln Forum panel

Of course, there were many more speakers and panels led by Frank J. Williams and Harold Holzer (Chair and Vice Chair, respectively). We heard from Joan Waugh, Craig Symonds, John Marszalek, Richard Brookhiser, Catherine Clinton, Edna Greene Medford, Douglas Egerton, and others. All packed into 2-1/2 days of lectures, meet-and-greets, tours, and even a cooking class.

This was my third year attending the Forum, which I had missed all those years it conflicted in timing with my annual SETAC meeting. Now the Forum is on my calendar for every year forward.

Meanwhile, I’m in the final editing phase of my newest book, Lincoln: The Man Who Saved America, due out in 2017.

David J. Kent is the author of Tesla: The Wizard of Electricity (2013) and Edison: The Inventor of the Modern World (2016) (both Fall River Press). He has also written two e-books: Nikola Tesla: Renewable Energy Ahead of Its Time and Abraham Lincoln and Nikola Tesla: Connected by Fate. His next book is on Abraham Lincoln, due out in 2017.

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