After a visit to Gettysburg some years ago, I was so moved by all that was around me—it seemed even the wind whispered of that fearful struggle— that I wrote a one woman performance entitled Witness to Gettysburg, and have since performed it about 200 times. My character, Hattie Elizabeth Turner, is based on a real person; every other event and person in my story is real. Hattie follows her husband to Gettysburg. On the second day of battle, young Hattie finds herself a widow. In spite of her grief, she cannot help but stay to help care for the 30,000 dead and wounded left at Gettysburg's doorstep. What is a small town to do? What is she to do?
Four months later, November 19, 1863, Hattie watches in awe as Mr. Lincoln stands before a congregation of 10,000 and delivers those immortal words in unmatched eloquence. His words, which continue to inspire and uplift us, bring a deep sense of appreciation for the fight endured. In Lincoln's God-fearing, humble manner he showed a remarkable strength of character and leadership that stayed the course and saw this country through a most difficult period.
As a young man Lincoln once said: “I will study and get ready and someday my chance will come.” Indeed it did, Mr. Lincoln. He was there when this country needed him. If a child were to pick just one person to emulate, Abraham Lincoln would surely provide that child with enough examples of integrity, responsibility, honesty, perseverance, faithfulness, and humor (yes Lincoln loved to tell jokes) to last a life time.