On a bright but chilly day in mid-November 1863, Abraham Lincoln sat for three hours and stood for three minutes. On a mid-November day in 2017—Friday, November 17, from 11:30am to 1pm, in fact—I’d like you to consider sitting down with me for a wonderful lunch, excellent dialogue, and creative presentation (if I say so myself) on your leadership and one of the most explosive topics of this year, and next: how to interpret and understand historical monuments and memory. You are a leader and this is a conversation you must not avoid.

Lincoln’s day was when, in southeastern Pennsylvania, he helped to transform a moment of the American past into a monument of American history. As both witness and participant, Lincoln the president, Lincoln the commander-in- chief, and Lincoln the citizen was part of the effort to understand, interpret, and honor the carnage that was the Battle of Gettysburg.

Today, as Americans we are in confusion and turmoil over our shared American experience. We argue and protest, sometimes with violence and injury, over what, who, and how to remember from the American experience. And unlike such natural disasters as Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, this sort of struggle doesn’t seem to bring out the best in Americans and all too often reveals the worst. It is the worst that drives so much of the media coverage, punditry analysis, and cycle of despair that emerged in Charlottesville and other places.

I offer you a chisel and a block of marble. It is the true and real story of Abraham Lincoln at Gettysburg. You and I will re-live the experience of the ceremony that included his famous Gettysburg Address. We will also re-live the experience of the broader day at the ceremony as well as look at what brought Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address back to life and down to us today. Finally, we’ll see how historical memory echoes in 2017 at Gettysburg and at such unusual places as an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England. From this many-layered story, you will, as a leader, learn to
mark a path that other people can follow—toward a more humane and positive understanding of today and tomorrow’s history in an American community.

I invite you to attend and participate in my Leadership Now Workshop “Your Choice of Marble: Abraham Lincoln, the Gettysburg Address, and Monuments of History.” The Workshop will be from 11:30am to 1pm on Friday, November 17, at Capital Grille in downtown Indianapolis. Tickets are $75 per person (lunch, session, and follow-up). Seating is very limited. Contact me at 317-407- 3687 or email to reserve one or more seats.

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