Story Number: NNS141120-10Release Date: 11/20/2014 10:31:00 AM

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Rusty Pang

GETTYSBURG, Pa. (NNS) -- More than 50 Sailors stationed aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) visited the Gettysburg National Cemetery to remember and celebrate the 151st anniversary of president Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address on this day in 1863.

In an effort to gain insight into their namesake's leadership, the Lincoln Sailors participated in the annual ceremony to remember his 272-word address.

Considered by many to be one of the most memorable American speeches, Lincoln's address was an example of inspirational leadership and poise.

Following the 1863 ceremony, Benjamin French, who helped plan the event, wrote, "Anyone who saw and heard as I did ... would know that he lived in every heart ... the hurricane of applause was the spontaneous outburst of heartfelt confidence in their own president."

It was the intention of the Lincoln's command to instill such leadership into each visiting Sailor.
"The big vision of the Lincoln Leadership series is to sharpen the saw of each Sailor. We thought it would be good for us to come here and literally walk the steps of each engagement of the Gettysburg battle," said Lincoln's Command Chaplain Cmdr. Maurice A. Buford. "We are in the yards recalibrating the ship, so we connect our past, present and future through Lincoln leadership. This allows us to be courageous and fight any future fight as necessary."

To remember each soldier's sacrifice 151 years ago, Lincoln Sailors laid 3,500 flags and 1,700 pennies with the date of 1972 symbolizing the hull number of USS Abraham Lincoln.

The experience was surreal for the Lincoln Sailors said Electronics Technician 3rd class John Thorton.

"It was great to come out here and see the turning point of the Civil War era," said Thorton. "We're here to strengthen ourselves by learning our past history. I think that Remembrance Day really strikes home."

Lincoln has taken an active approach, since entering the Newport News shipyard, connecting its Sailors to the legacy of the ship's namesake through historical visits like this.

In a pivotal time of the ship's life, refueling complex overhaul (RCOH), the Gettysburg visit allows its crew to connect with our 16th president's heritage and legacy.

RCOH occurs at the half-life of a carrier's operation. Coincidentally, the trip to Gettysburg occurs eight days following the 25th anniversary of the ship's commission Nov. 11, 1989.

With 25 years to go, events like the Gettysburg trip allow Sailors to connect with their namesake's past to prepare for the ship's future.

Lincoln is currently undergoing RCOH at Newport News Shipbuilding, a division of Huntington Ingalls

Lincoln is the fifth ship of the Nimitz class to undergo an RCOH, a major life-cycle milestone. Once RCOH is complete, Lincoln will be one of the most modern and technologically advanced Nimitz-class aircraft carriers in the fleet and will continue to be a vital part of the nation's defense.

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