Sunday, November 19, 2006

Gettysburg Address Remembered

Seven score and three years ago a man with a high-pitched Kentucky accent ascended a podium to give a speech. The man was Abraham Lincoln and the speech was the Gettysburg Address.

President Lincoln was at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania to help dedicate a military cemetery for the Union soldiers who died during the Battle of Gettysburg. He planned to give a few, short remarks on how the landscape itself had been consecrated by those who fought and died. What he did was inspire a nation. The speech tied the war effort, the battlefield, the country, and the cosmos together. The dead died not in vain but to finish what the Founding Fathers started- the formation of a true representative democracy.

Here are Lincoln's words. Let them inspire you.

Four score and seven years ago, our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation, so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate—we can not consecrate—we can not hallow—this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

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