SPRINGFIELD | Sunday marks the beginning of a week-long observance in Illinois’ capital city of the 150th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address.
The 272-word speech by President Abraham Lincoln was delivered on Nov. 19, 1863 — four and a half months after Union troops defeated Confederate soldiers during a bloody battle in Pennsylvania.
Many of the events commemorating the iconic speech will take place at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum.
Beginning at 2 p.m. Sunday, the 10th Illinois Cavalry Band will perform Civil War-era music in the plaza of the museum.
Monday features a vigil beginning at 7 p.m. featuring a special viewing of the Gettysburg Address with an honor guard provided by the 114th Regiment Illinois Volunteer Infantry Reactivated.
The museum’s copy of the speech — handwritten by Lincoln after he delivered the address — is among only five in existence. The speech has been previously displayed at the Gettysburg battlefield, the presidential museum of Gerald Ford and the Chicago History Museum.
Also on tap Monday evening is a performance by the Blackwater String Quartet and readings from Doris Kearns Goodwin's book, "Team of Rivals."
At midnight, President Lincoln — as portrayed by Fritz Klein — will deliver the Gettysburg Address in the plaza of the museum.
Tuesday features appearances by Mary Lincoln and others from the era, who will greet visitors and answer questions between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
At 9 a.m. Tuesday at the nearby Old State Capitol Historic Site, officials will showcase an original flag carried during several Civil War campaigns by the 95th Illinois Infantry.
At 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., the film “The Perfect Tribute” will be shown in the Union Theater, following by a discussion with museum curator James Cornelius.
From noon until 3 p.m., historian Michael Burlingame and photographer Robert Shaw will be signing their book, "A Day Long to be Remembered: Lincoln in Gettysburg" in the museum gift shop.
At 1 p.m. Tuesday, Lincoln impersonator Fritz Klein will deliver the address in front of a facade of the White House inside the museum.
On Wednesday, Civil War historic interpreters will be on hand from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. to meet museum visitors and answer questions.
At 6:30 p.m., Museum Executive Director Eileen Mackevich will moderate a discussion in the Union Theater focusing on the legacy and memory of the Gettysburg Address as interpreted by varied members of society.
Afterwards there will be a special presentation featuring speeches given at Gettysburg over the decades by individuals such as Adlai Stevenson, Calvin Coolidge, Dwight Eisenhower and Lyndon B. Johnson.
Thursday includes showings of the speech and, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., musician Mike Anderson will be playing Civil War era music in the plaza of the museum
Friday includes includes an 11 a.m. appearance by Civil War historic interpreter Garret Moffett, who will meet museum visitors and answer questions in the plaza.
At 1 p.m. there will be a national webcast of Cornelius discussing Lincoln’s use of language and oratory in the address.
The address and essays about the speech will continue to be on display Saturday, Nov. 23, and Sunday, Nov. 24.
On Sunday, the events wrap up with a 3 p.m. showing of "The Gettysburg Story,” which dramatically tells the history of what is considered the greatest battle fought in the Western Hemisphere. The showing is free, but reservations are required.