Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Gettysburg Address: a stirring moment

gettysburg address
Today marks the anniversary of President Abraham Lincoln's 1863 Gettysburg Address -- so there's no better time to recall the great orator's speech, which was little noticed at the time, but has become larger than life.
The speech was delivered at the dedication of the National Cemetery, and followed a bloody battle that represented the beginning of the end for the Confederacy. Lincoln began: “Fourscore 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."
If you've never been to the Gettysburg National Military Park, you're missing a tremendous opportunity. A beautiful new visitor's center provides the background of the Civil War (or, as they say in the South, The War Between the States). You can also visit the David Wills House, where Lincoln stayed on the eve of delivering his address. And much of the battlefield has been preserved, providing a stirring look at the days when the tide of war turned and our nation was preserved.

As Lincoln said: "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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