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Utah Students Participate in Commemoration of Gettysburg Address

U.S. Department of the Interior
U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell stands at the Gettysburg Address Memorial on November 19, 2013

Students around the country were able to watch a broadcast of the ceremony commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address in Pennsylvania today. Afterward, several schools participated in a video conference call with a National Park Service Educator and a Gettysburg Park Ranger.

Students from high schools in Pennsylvania and New Jersey joined East High students on a video chat with NPS representatives. Linda Rosenblum moderated the conversation; she’s an NPS teacher corps program manager. Caitlin Kostic, a park ranger at Gettysburg, answered questions. Students from every school asked about the Battle of Gettysburg and its aftermath, and myths surrounding President Lincoln’s famous speech. Terrell Eskelson is a junior at East. He asked the last question of the video conference.

“I would like to know how you feel the Gettysburg Address affects those living in the US today,” he asked.

But the National Park Service representatives turned the question back on the students. Mike from Passaic Valley High School in New Jersey gave this answer:

“It’s important for us to study because those men gave their lives for a country that they were trying to bring back together," he says. "So I think it’s very important for us to learn this and understand what happened during the Civil War.”

When asked why he thinks it’s important, Eskelson said the Gettysburg Address is a reminder of the principles the US was founded on.

“I feel like our generation today is sort of forgetting about that and I think it’s definitely an issue that needs to be addressed,” Eskelson says.

About fifty of Eskelson’s peers gathered at the Eccles Broadcast Center on the University of Utah campus to watch the anniversary ceremony, recite the Gettysburg Address and participate in the video chat. Officials with the Utah Education Network helped facilitate the event.

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