Wednesday, November 16, 2011
DALLAS -- On Nov. 19, 1863, the nation was at war, the deadliest in American history by far.
It was on that day, when the outcome of the Civil War was far from certain, that President Abraham Lincoln delivered a short speech during a ceremony commemorating those who died in the Battle of Gettysburg. Many believe his speech -- lasting little more than two minutes -- gave new resolve to those fighting for freedom.
Lincoln concluded what was to become know as the Gettysburg Address with these words: "That we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain ... that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom ... and that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth."
The Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War will honor those words and the lives of those who fought and died during the conflict at a Remembrance Day ceremony in Dallas Cemetery on Saturday, Nov. 19, at 10:30 a.m.
Steve Betschart, a member of the Col. Edward D. Baker Camp of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, said the ceremony also will rededicate the head stones of two Civil War veterans buried in Dallas Cemetery without a military head stone.
"We do a complete survey of the cemetery, looking for Civil War soldiers whose grave markers are in poor repair or don't have proper military headstones," he said. "We fix that."
Saturday's rededication will be held for Pvt. William Truax, who served in the 40th Indiana Volunteer Infantry, and Cpl. Lewis Olin, who served with the 13th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry.
Members of the families of the soldiers will attend the ceremony.
Betschart planned the first local Remembrance Day event in 2006. It was held on the steps of the Capitol Building in Salem.
"What I really wanted to do was go to Gettysburg, but I didn't have the money, so I thought we could have our own celebration in Oregon," Betschart said of the beginning of the annual celebration.
In subsequent years, it was held in Salem's Pioneer Cemetery. This is the first year it will be held in Dallas Cemetery.
The ceremony will include a recitation of the Gettysburg Address by Abraham Lincoln historian and impersonator Stephen Holgate.
"He's one of the best I've ever seen," Betschart said.
Sons of Union Veterans was created in 1925 to replace the Grand Army of the Republic, a fraternal organization which sought to commemorate the sacrifices of those who fought in the Civil War.
The Sons of Union Veterans continued those ceremonies to keep the memory of that generation alive. There are about 6,000 members nationwide, including two camps in Oregon, the local Baker Camp and Renninger Camp out of Eugene. The organization holds events on Memorial Day and Remembrance Day each year.
"We keep it going to make sure people don't forget," Betschart said. "People always talk about the "Greatest Generation" of World War II vets, and that's definitely true. But this generation -- 620,000 gave their lives and they freed 4.5 million people. I think that is something probably worth remembering."
Check It Out
2011 Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War Remembrance Day ceremony.
Saturday, Nov. 19, 10:30 a.m.
Dallas Cemetery, 2065 SW Fairview Ave.
The ceremony will include a recitation of the Gettysburg Address and the rededication of headstones of two Civil War veterans, Pvt. William Truax and Cpl. Lewis Olin.