IT TOOK 150 years to get there, but yesterday a US newspaper finally apologised for dismissing President Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address as "silly remarks" that should be consigned to the dustbin of history.
On its opinion pages in 1863, 'The Harrisburg Patriot & Union' in Pennsylvania printed a scathing editorial that referred to Lincoln's "little speeches" which "fell below our expectations" and describing him as a "jester" who "does not possess sense".
Lincoln's address was delivered during the Civil War at a dedication ceremony for a soldiers' cemetery less than five months after the bloody Battle of Gettysburg. Harrisburg is 40 miles from Gettysburg.
The speech lasted just over two minutes, its brevity baffling some at the time, but it is now regarded as one of the greatest ever made. It began with the now iconic phrase "Four score and seven years ago" and concluded with the line: "Government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."
Now known as The 'Patriot-News of Harrisburg', the newspaper said in its apology: "In the editorial about President Abraham Lincoln's speech delivered November 19, 1863, in Gettysburg, the Patriot & Union failed to recognise its momentous importance, timeless eloquence, and lasting significance. The Patriot-News regrets the error."
An accompanying editorial said: "Seven score and ten years ago, the forefathers of this media institution brought forth to its audience a judgment so flawed ... that it cannot remain unaddressed in our archives." (© Daily Telegraph, London)