Honest Don Campbell portrays Lincoln at Fourth of July

By on July 2, 2013

By:

STEPHEN SEEBER Record Express Staff

, Staff Writer



Photo by Stan Hallâ?©Don Campbell will read Lincolnâ??s Gettysburg Address this Thursday in Lititz Springs Park.

We were wondering why former Record Express advertising manager Don Campbell stopped shaving.

A little less than four score and seven years ago, Don was approached by Fourth of July Committee Co-Chairman Bill Dussinger to read President Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address.

"Yes, Bill e-mailed me several months ago asking if I would consider doing this," Campbell said. "After laughing hysterically and rolling around on the floor, I started to think this might be an interesting thing to do. I’m sure my 6’5" height had something to do with the request."

Local tall men have been in demand of late. In May, Craig Wagaman, known for his pie eating ability, was called to duty to parade Lititz’s Coolest Town trophy surrounded by jazz musicians on East Main Street. Now, it’s Campbell’s turn.

"I will be in costume, including the stove pipe hat, and I will try to recite the address rather than reading," he said. "I would need glasses to read it, and I have found only one photo of Lincoln wearing eyeglasses, so I want to try to be as authentic as I can."

The Record Express research team confirmed that there were no contact lenses, Union or Confederate, in 1863. So, our statesman will bravely depend on his memorization skills.

"In studying the text, Lincoln managed to cover several subjects in a speech that was less than three minutes long," Campbell added. "He questioned whether the nation, being tested by civil war, could survive. He honored those who had paid with their lives so the nation might live. And he challenged us, the living, to devote ourselves to the unfinished work that freedom requires.

"The speech is important to us, as it was given just down the road in Gettysburg, marking the northern most advance of Confederate troops into Pennsylvania."

Our photographer caught up with Mr. President, who also volunteers at the Lititz Welcome Center, while he was rehearsing at the old Reading caboose in Lititz Springs Park. He seems perfect for the part.

Come out and support Honest Don, and the park, this Thursday. He takes the bandshell stage for his historical oration at approximately 2 p.m. Tickets for a full day of entertainment and fireworks are available for $10 (children under 13 are free). All proceeds benefit Lititz Springs Park, a community icon that is near and dear to Campbell’s heart.

"We usually plan any summer vacations so we are home for the Fourth," he said. "We have an extended family picnic, then head to the park for the festivities. The candles along the stream, the Queen of Candles pageant, and the fireworks are not to be missed!"

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