On this day, 150 years ago, President Abraham Lincoln stood before crowds at the dedication on the battlefield of Gettysburg, and declared we would have a new birth of freedom, and that “government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” There isn’t a parent who hasn’t learned “Fourscore and seven years ago…” and every child has also learned or will learn a speech that was so eloquent and meaningful that its power stands 150 years after it was first delivered.
The Gettysburg Address followed our nation’s most costly battle, which occurred in the Pennsylvania countryside and small town of Gettysburg. Today, it is a national historic site, park and monument, honoring the Americans who fought both for the Union and Confederate sides of the Civil War. More than 51,000 died during that battle, and Gettysburg National Military Park is a somber place. It is also an important chapter in our nation’s history, and as such, remains one of the top destinations for families to visit.
Visitors to the park can visit the Museum and Visitor Center and pick up a park map that will take them on a driving or walking tour of the area. The museum features a Cyclorama and a film that both highlight the battle. Living history events, ranger programs and guided tours are available, occurring most often between April through October and larger programs running more frequently from mid-June through mid-August. Lincoln stayed at the David Wills House, in the heart of town, finishing his speech, and tours of the home are available, including the Lincoln bedroom.
On this day, as we are reminded of the Gettysburg Address and how it lifted the spirits of a battle-weary nation, consider planning a trip to Gettysburg and showing kids an important place in U.S. history. To see what the park offers for children and families, visit Gettysburg National Military Park’s website. For accommodations, consider the Wyndham Gettysburg, where kids stay free — and pets are welcome.
For other historic sites kids will enjoy, read 10 Best Historic U.S. Sites for Kids.