“Four score and seven years ago,” is the start to one of the most famous speeches ever given by a U.S. president, and those who gathered in Connecticut’s oldest veterans’ cemetery in Darien were able to hear a live rendition.
President Abraham Lincoln’s two-minute long speech was delivered by Howard Wright, a member of the Association of Lincoln Presenters, in full costume surrounded by Civil War re-enactors in their official Union wool uniforms.
The Battle of Gettysburg took place July 1–3, 1863, which is why the cemetery chose Sunday to dedicate its new memorial to the speech, which Lincoln delivered in November 1863 at the dedication of the cemetery at the site of the battle.
The goal of the ceremony was to remember and perhaps educate people about the Civil War and Connecticut’s connection to it, said Marge Bucholz of Meriden who came to Darien with re-enactors of the 2nd Connecticut Heavy Artillery.
“We think it’s important to show the sacrifices,” Bucholz said.
Commissioner Linda Schwartz, of the Connecticut of Department of Veterans’ Affairs, who emceed the event, told the gathering that more than 700 veterans of the Civil War are buried in the Spring Grove Veterans Cemetery on Hecker Avenue. Among them is Oscar Peck, who was awarded the Medal of Honor at age 13 for his service on the USS Varuna in 1862.
His plaque was dedicated Sunday alongside the Gettysburg Address Memorial. When introducing Wright as President Lincoln, Schwartz said, “This is probably the only time I get to say ‘Mr. President’.”