May 26, 2018
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Lincoln, Hamlin to rededicate Civil War Memorial

By Dan MacLeod, Special to the BDN

BANGOR, Maine — On Saturday, July 11, actors portraying Abraham Lincoln and his vice president, Bangor resident Hannibal Hamlin, will rededicate the city’s 145-year-old Civil War Memorial.

The re-enactment will commemorate the 200th birthday of Hamlin as well as the 175th anniversary of the Mount Hope Cemetery, where the 1864 Civil War Memorial resides.

At a news conference Wednesday in City Council chambers at City Hall, council Chairman Gerry Palmer Jr. read the text of a fictional telegraph from Abraham Lincoln announcing his plan to meet Hamlin in “the great city of Bangor.”

At the time, Hamlin was serving in the Coast Guard in Maine — an attempt to relieve the tedium of the vice presidency, a position he reportedly hated.

Lincoln never came to Maine nor is there any record that he planned to attend the original event in Bangor.

The original dedication was a somber moment, according to Bangor historian Richard Shaw.

“The [Civil] War was still raging in 1864. It was not a big occasion for celebration,” he said.

As such, Hamlin thought it “not proper to give a long speech,” he said.

Bangor Museum and History Center curator Dana Lippitt will lead a tour of Mount Hope Cemetery from 10 to 11 a.m. July 11, before the rededication begins.

Sons and Daughters of Union Veterans of the Civil War, the 20th Maine Company B and the 6th Heavy Artillery will participate in the re-enactment. The original dedication drew scores of wounded soldiers who walked in the processional.

The Bangor Band will provide the music as it did in 1864 when the band was 5 years old.

Actors playing Hamlin and Lincoln will give speeches as well as plant oak trees.

After the memorial, a brief ceremony will be held at Hamlin’s grave in Mount Hope Cemetery, where the actor portraying him will deliver remarks in advance of the vice president’s 200th birthday in August.

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