President Barack Obama will not be in Gettysburg on Nov. 19 to mark the 150th anniversary of President Abraham Lincoln's famous Gettysburg Address.

Gettysburg officials had invited Obama to attend the annual ceremony.

The president is sending Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell to represent the administration, according to a news release from Gettysburg National Military Park.

"Dedication Day is about Lincoln. It's not about President Obama," said Carl Whitehill, spokesman for the Gettysburg Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Gettysburg would have been happy to have Obama at this year's event, he said, but the focus will remain the same regardless.

"We're not disappointed in any way. We're going to move forward, and this is going to be a great remembrance of this speech," Whitehill said.

Jewell will share the keynote speaker role with Pulitzer Prize-winning historian James McPherson, according to the news release.

The ceremony is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. in the Soldiers' National Cemetery, where many of the Union soldiers killed during the Battle of Gettysburg are buried.

In 1863, Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address during a ceremony to dedicate the cemetery.

The event, which is free and open to the public, will also feature the U.S. Marine Band, Gov. Tom Corbett and a reading of the Gettysburg Address by Lincoln living-historian James Getty. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will also

administer the Oath of Allegiance to 16 new citizens.

- Reach Erin James at

While in this case, I do believe it is the right call (for reasons mentioned in a previous post), it would have been a memorable and even more historic event had he attended.