Chairman and CEO Doug Oberhelman’s Essay Part of Gettysburg Address Essay Project

Two-hundred and seventy-two words - that's how many words President Abraham Lincoln spoke in the Gettysburg Address. That is how many words people from all over the world were asked to write in celebration of the upcoming 150-year anniversary of the Gettysburg Address, including Caterpillar Chairman and CEO Doug Oberhelman.

"We've asked people from all over the world. It gives them a voice and an opportunity to write in the spirit of Lincoln," said Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation CEO Carla Knorowski. The shortness of the essays "is the beauty of the project. People love the challenge."

Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address, one of the best-known speeches in American history, at the dedication of the Soldiers' National Cemetery in Gettysburg, Pa., during the Civil War. In little more than two minutes, he addressed the issue of human equality, paid homage to the Declaration of Independence and offered a tribute to the soldiers who lost their lives up to that point in the war.

As part of the 150th celebration of the Gettysburg Address, the Lincoln museum, a Caterpillar Foundation grant recipient, located in Springfield, Ill., is displaying essays from well-known people such as President Bill Clinton, Steven Spielberg, Sandra Day O'Connor, Colin Powell and Oberhelman. On Nov. 19, the anniversary, the Gettysburg Address will be read aloud at midnight and then again at 1 p.m., the time the original was delivered.

Caterpillar Inc. supports the philanthropic efforts of the Caterpillar Foundation. Founded in 1952, the Caterpillar Foundation has contributed more than $550 million to help make sustainable progress possible around the world by providing program support in the areas of environmental sustainability, access to education and basic human needs. To learn more about the global impact of the Caterpillar Foundation, please visit

Click here to read Oberhelman's essay.