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LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Obama owes much to Lincoln, Gettysburg

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It is hard to adequately express our deep disappointment upon learning that President Obama will not attend the ceremonies marking the 150th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's delivery of the Gettysburg Address ("Obama diss: President snubs historic Gettysburg 150th anniversary ceremony," Web, Oct. 31).

The tremendous loss of life at the Battle of Gettysburg — more than 50,000 lives — was part of the high cost our country paid to be set in a new direction. In just 268 words, Lincoln eloquently delivered the message that the United States was one country with one destiny.

As a politician, Mr. Obama has often drawn parallels between himself and Lincoln, who set forth the change that eventually made possible the election of the first black president. Mr. Obama launched his campaign here in Springfield, and he has twice taken the oath of office on Lincoln's Bible. Therefore, his failure to appear at the Gettysburg ceremonies is both baffling and inexcusable.

The first black president should be present in Gettysburg on Tuesday to read the Gettysburg Address as Abraham Lincoln did 150 years earlier. The president's failure to appropriately honor this anniversary shows a lack of understanding of the enormity of the event and his place in history.

Mr. Obama's very presidency is testament to the progress this nation has made, slow and painful though it may have been. He needs to honor that.

Springfield, Ill.

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