gettysburg address
public speaking
November 20, 2013

The Pyfer Address


Maggie: People across the country marked the 150th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address yesterday. The whole speech was only two minutes and less than 300 words, but its power has definitely stood the test of time. And as Tom Hanson shows us, President Lincoln’s words still hold true today.

Gettysburg Address: …All men and women are created equal…

Tom: Politicians, students and community leaders gathered at the National Cemetery yesterday to celebrate the anniversary of an iconic American speech, the Gettysburg Address.

Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president of the United States, gave the address in November of 1863. One hundred and fifty years later, it is now a student’s chance to have her voice heard.

Lauren Pyfer: History is one of my favorite subjects, definitely.

Tom: Lauren Pyfer is a junior at Upper Dublin High School, and the winner of a statewide speech contest to celebrate the Gettysburg Address. For her, having the chance to follow in Lincoln’s footsteps means much more than just the chance to speak at the ceremony.

What does it mean to you to win this contest?

Lauren: It portrays some hope because, by Lincoln, he didn’t think his words were going to be remembered at all. He had said that. So I think that it kind of shows that small things can have a big impact.

Tom: More than a century after the address, an organization called In Lincoln’s Footsteps honors the landmark speech by giving Pennsylvania students the chance to find their own voices.

Dr. Myles Martel: I feel that this contest has been a wonderful opportunity to emphasize the importance of the spoken word.

Tom: The topics of the speech contest range from the meaning of freedom to sacrifice to dedication and national purpose, all of which were themes of Lincoln’s vision of the U.S.: a government of the people, by the people and for the people.

And winning the contest comes with its perks. Lauren will receive a $5,000 scholarship and paid tuition for her first year at any state school in Pennsylvania. But for Lauren, it is not about the money. The contest sends a larger message.

Lauren: I think in some ways, people might think that spoken word is losing value. But I definitely think it’s as important today. And that’s part of what I’d like to portray in 270 words; that these messages can still be put across.

Tom: Tom Hanson, Channel One News.

Maggie: If you want to hear all of us at Channel One recite Lincoln’s famous speech, just head on over to


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