There is speculation that the President is going to come to Gettysburg for Remembrance Day and be the keynote speaker for the 150th commemoration of the Gettysburg Address. It looks like it will happen, and the Park Service and local law enforcement are planning for it. Keeping politics out of it, as that is not the point of this post, I still have mixed feelings about this. Let me explain.
On the pro side, it is an honor to be a featured speaker at such an historic event. The President and Commander-In-Chief would be bestowing a great level of respect for those being remembered if he were to come, speak, and be part of the commemoration. It would be the right thing to do.
That said, this event is something many have been planning on attending for years. Many more people than normal will be in Gettysburg. Traffic, already a nightmare for previous events, will be out if control and basically at a standstill. How will a Presidential visit, the motorcade, the security, the medical preparation, and everything else affect this event? We don't know for sure, but one thing is for certain, it sure can't help.
Advance security details will be sent to town, if they haven't already been there. Blood will be stockpiled in the hospital, and one complete emergency room, possibly even a whole medical wing will be reserved for any incidents. We all hope nothing happens, but this is standard procedure at any location visited by the POTUS.
The motorcade and accompanying security detail will require massive road closures. Roads normally used will be unavailable for awhile, and traffic will be re-routed to already over-crowded roads. If you're planning on coming, do your research, and listen to the radio for traffic alerts. Most importantly, travel early.
If the President chooses to speak, it's a safe bet that access to the cemetery will be severely regulated. Security checks will be prevalent, and there will be strict regulations on what can be brought in. Again, go early and be prepared for delays.
We won't go into how this will affect reenactors. Even with no black powder, powder residue on muskets, on cartridge boxes and on uniforms will basically render dogs useless. The Secret Service also I'm sure won't be thrilled at the prospect of thousands of people with rifles being in the vicinity of the President.
We saw in Boston that terrorists target prominent events, and even a small attack can cause massive disruption. The mere prospect of President Obama being at a gala event attended by thousands obviously will have every terrorist and terrorist-wannabe salivating with joy at the prospect of pulling something off.
Local law enforcement are already taxed to the limit every Remembrance Day. Road closures, the parade, and the massive numbers already involved will only be adversely affected by a Presidential visit. If the President chooses to attend, let's hope it's for the right reasons, let's hope that people who've waited years for this event can still get to enjoy it as they planned, and most importantly let's hope nothing out of the ordinary happens and that no one gets hurt or killed in any way.
I'm apprehensive about this one. I fear it would only be asking for troubles that we don't need at this point in time.