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'Honest Abe' addresses Republicans at picnic

August 12, 1999

Lincoln at GOP picnicBy GREG SIMMONS / Staff Writer

photo: RIC DUGAN / staff photographer




The words Abraham Lincoln spoke at Gettysburg, Pa., one brisk November day in 1863 rang out Thursday night at the Washington County Republican Club's annual picnic.

James Getty, an actor from Gettysburg who portrays Abraham Lincoln, rallied the troops at the picnic.

"I would hope that Republicans from today can learn from some of the anxieties of my time," Getty said, just after his delivery of the Gettysburg Address.

When Getty, made up to look like Lincoln, finished his speech, the crowd roared its approval. Some called out, "Here! Here!" in appreciation of the gaunt, bearded man wearing a black bow tie and tails.

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"That someone can take the time and tell us how things were - I think that's wonderful," said state Del. Louise Snodgrass, R-Frederick/Washington.

Washington County Commisioners President Gregory I. Snook said the picnic was "low key" compared to election-year gatherings, but he enjoyed it.

"It's good to see people get involved," he said.

Snodgrass said attending the annual picnic and other such functions is her way of getting to know what people's concerns are.

"This group is very supportive of their politics and their events," she said.

Dick Everhart, director of George W. Bush's presidential campaign in Washington County, said the picnic is always a good event for members of the GOP to attend.

"It's a Republican function, so naturally it's a good base to work with," he said.

Many of the people who attended the picnic there to socialize or voice their opinions.

"I'm not a die-hard political person," Janice Gantz, 75, of Boonsboro, said.

"It's a social event, really. It's a good time," she said.

Joe Chapla, 70, of Hagerstown, said he sees the picnic as an opportunity to share political opinions with "party stalwarts."

"We'll exchange some ideas," he said.

Chapla said he was looking forward to the next election, more than a year away.

"This (picnic) is just a piece of America," he said, noting everyone at the picnic was wearing a George Bush sticker.

"This is going to be an interesting election coming along," Chapla said.

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