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Sen. Getty plans to discuss Lincoln's legacy

A scene in front of the Capitol is shown during Lincoln's second inauguration in 1865 just six weeks before his assassination.
A scene in front of the Capitol is shown during Lincoln's second inauguration in 1865 just six weeks before his assassination. (AP FILE PHOTO, Carroll County Times)

He died 148 years ago from a bullet wound to the head.

He is immortalized at a monument bearing his name in Washington.

His face is one of four carved into Mount Rushmore in South Dakota.

Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States, is one of the most famous figures in the country's history. He led the victorious Union through the Civil War, which put an end to slavery in the United States.

While Lincoln is certainly well-known, he is also suddenly a pop-culture icon as the United States commemorates the 150th anniversary of his famous Gettysburg Address.

Daniel Day-Lewis won Best Actor at the Academy Awards for his portrayal of Lincoln last week, and in four days, Sen. Joe Getty, R-District 5, a noted history buff, will discuss Lincoln's pivotal second inaugural address.

Getty will offer his take on the second inaugural address at 7 p.m. April 10 at the North Carroll branch of the Carroll County Public Library in Greenmount.

The free presentation is part of Carroll County Public Library's Freedom Shrine Document series. The library is exhibiting important documents in U.S. history and hosting programs to discuss them.

"Since [Getty] is so knowledgeable and a historian and always writing articles ... we thought that it would be great to have him," said Cindy Ahmann, the Greenmount library's branch manager.

Lincoln's most well-known speech is the Gettysburg Address, given Nov. 19, 1863, at the dedication of the Soldiers' National Cemetery in Gettysburg, Pa. The brief speech mentioned the principles of human equality found in the Declaration of Independence.

But his second inaugural address, while not as famous, laid the groundwork for America as the Civil War was coming to a close, Getty said. Lincoln gave his second inaugural address March 4, 1865 just five weeks before he was assassinated by actor John Wilkes Booth at Ford's Theatre in Washington.

Getty compared the second inaugural address to the Civil War's version of the Marshall Plan for World War II.

"To historians, the second inaugural address was the most important one he gave because it set the standard for repatriation of the south," Getty said. "It was a message of conciliation without penalty."

In February, Getty gave the annual Lincoln Day address to the Maryland Senate. During that speech, he discussed the Steven Spielberg-directed "Lincoln" and how that movie portrayed the leader.

The movie's script is based on text from Doris Kearns Goodwin's book, "A Team of Rivals," Getty said. It focuses on Lincoln's considerable ability as a storyteller, even though his fellow politicians weren't always excited to hear them.

"There are several times in the movie where he starts a story and the Cabinet just rolls their eyes and are like, 'there he goes again,' " Getty said.

With the 150th anniversary of the Civil War and Lincoln's Gettysburg address taking place this year, the Carroll County Arts Council is planning a screening of "Lincoln" at 3 and 7 p.m. June 13. It was a movie Carroll County Arts Council Executive Director Sandy Oxx said she felt compelled to show because of the movie's relevance to the 150th anniversary and the outstanding performance from Day-Lewis as Lincoln.

She was impressed at how the movie showed how Lincoln grappled with battlefield casualties mounting and continuing the war in the hopes of stopping slavery.

"There's nothing like Big Bucks Hollywood to send a message that reaches the masses," Oxx said. "I think that it's a wonderful thing that they chose that dilemma."

Getty said he is hoping the recent popularity of the movie will help draw more attention to Lincoln, his famous speeches and his legacy.

"The movie is a great vehicle to talk to people about Lincoln's legacy," he said.

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