President Obama is drawing criticism from many quarters for not speaking at the 150th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address. Should he change his mind?

Is President Obama afraid to speak at Gettysburg, on the 150th anniversary of Lincoln’s noted, long-remembered little speech there? Central Pennsylvania Patriot-Ledger columnist Donald Gilliand is one of many locals who thinks the president isn’t going to Gettysburg Nov. 19 because he doesn’t “have the stones.” He wrote:

Sally Jewell.

John Usher.

Ring any bells?

Didn't think so.

They're both nobodies—well, actually, they're both Secretaries of the Interior.

The difference is when Usher travelled to Gettysburg, he went with his President.

When Jewell goes this November, she'll be the headliner—her President is taking a pass.

Obama will be a no-show at the 150th anniversary of Lincoln's Gettysburg Address.

For a president who has so demonstrably associated himself with Lincoln – the heir of Lincoln's policies who announced his candidacy from the steps of the Old State Capitol in Springfield and used the Lincoln Bible (twice) at his inauguration – this is nothing less than a profile in cowardice.

In the end, Barack Obama simply didn't have the stones.

It's sad.

And telling.

History will note that Lincoln's legacy did not live up to the challenge.

To those who would dismiss Gilliand's remarks as a local grousing or excuse the president’s demurring from an impossible act to follow, Vital Speeches rhetoric editor Neil Hrab lists other presidents who have successfully spoken at Gettysburg. President Roosevelt spoke there not once but twice, and there were speeches by Presidents Wilson and Coolidge.

President Obama hasn't said why he won't speak at Gettysburg. Does he owe an explanation? Or does he owe a change of heart? Let's talk it over.

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