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GETTYSBURG, PA (AP) ? With his new film about the 16th president in theaters, two-time Academy Award winning director Steven Spielberg was to make the keynote address during ceremonies that celebrate the 149th anniversary of President Abraham Lincoln's "Gettysburg Address."

Spielberg's remarks at Soldier's National Cemetery in Gettysburg on Monday were to be accompanied by a recitation of the famous speech by a Lincoln re-enactor. Sixteen citizenship candidates from 11 countries were scheduled to take the oath of allegiance.

The event at Gettysburg National Military Park was expected to take about an hour, and was free. Previous speakers include presidents Harry Truman and Dwight Eisenhower, and former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge.

Carl Sandberg, in his biography of Lincoln, said it was a speech that conveyed the message that democracy was worth fighting for.

"It had the dream touch of vast and furious events epitomized for any foreteller to read what was to come," Sandberg wrote. "His cadences sang the ancient song that where there is freedom men have fought and sacrificed for it, and that freedom is worth men's dying for."

Gettysburg is where the U.S. military was able to stop an invasion of the North by Confederate troops under Gen. Robert E. Lee, a major turning point of the American Civil War. The 150th year since that battle will be marked in 2013, particularly around the battle's anniversary in early July.

"Lincoln," which stars Daniel Day-Lewis in the title role, concentrates on the period leading up to the president's assassination in 1865.

Lincoln gave the three-minute speech, which famously begins with the phrase, "four score and seven years ago," at the dedication of the cemetery four months after the battle.


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GETTYSBURG ? No single star shines brighter in Gettysburg than Abraham Lincoln, not even world renowned three-time Oscar-winning director Steven Spielberg.

The filmmaker himself acknowledged this Monday morning as he began his keynote remarks in the ceremony to mark the 149th anniversary of Lincoln's Gettysburg Address at the Soldiers' National Cemetery in Gettysburg Monday.

"I never find it easier to be humble (than here)," he said to the roughly 9,000 people in the crowd, most of whom were standing, on the cemetery grounds.

Spielberg's appearance at the annual ceremony coincided with the recent opening of his latest film, "Lincoln," about the 16th president's push for ratification by Congress of the 13th Amendment, which abolished slavery and involuntary servitude.

"Nothing matters more than memory," said Spielberg, whose repertoire of films include the historical epics "Saving Private Ryan," "Amistad," and "Schindler's List."

"Justice and memory are inseparable. History lights the path towards injustice. Without history, there's no hope."

Spielberg talked about his "newly-minted" obsession for Lincoln since he began preparing for the film a little more than two years ago. He credited historian Doris Kearns Goodwin and the many Civil War historians, reenactors and enthusiasts ? his fellow "Lincoln obsessives" ? for guiding him through the process.

"He's come to feel like one of my oldest and best friends," Spielberg said of the 16th President. "I wanted to bring Lincoln back . . . even if only for two hours and even if only in a cinematic dream."

The director also paid homage to the thousands of soldiers who died on the battlefields of Gettysburg in 1863.

"I feel the deepest humility, that is to say, the deepest gratitude to those citizen-soldiers," he said. "It is their courage, their selflessness (that will bring) all of America always back to Gettysburg."




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