Monday, November 10, 2008

The Gettysburg Address

I was very moved by our recent trip to Washington, DC. It was a good reminder of our country's hard-won independence, and the various hardships we have overcome in order to keep it. I was especially moved by viewing the Charters of Freedom: the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. I was also very moved by the Lincoln Memorial, especially by the Gettysburg Address, which is carved into the one wall (Lincoln's second inaugural speech is on the other).

We are all familiar with this speech; we have all heard it or read it. Some of us have even memorized it, but for some reason I was struck by it this time. It is a beautiful, eloquent, meaningful speech, and it helped me to remember why I do love America, no matter what.

The Gettysburg Address

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth, upon 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 here on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of it 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 can never forget what they did here.

It is for us, the living, rather to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they have, thus far, so nobly carried on. 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 here gave the last full measure of devotion - that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain; that this nation shall have a new birth of freedom; and that this government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

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