Tuesday, November 19, 2013

On This Date

One hundred and fifty years ago today, President Abraham Lincoln delivered some remarks at a cemetery dedication in Pennsylvania.

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.

He was wrong on one point: the world did note and will long remember what he said there.

4 barks and woofs on “On This Date

  1. He’s wrong on another point, too: there is no memory of that battle save the insistence that the wrong side won. The Teahad, Federalism, and all the questionably-loyal (at best) obstruction of the modern Right are continuations of the argument as if the larger “debate” of 150 years ago never happened. If there is recollection of that event, it stands in stark contrast to the ideal for which Lincoln stood, and for which the Union fought. The North has largely forgotten that the war ever happened, and the South conveniently ignorees the fact that it ever ended – and they lost.

  2. Compare the thoughtful, beautiful words of this speech to the banal word-salads spewed forth by current Republicans…

  3. Lincoln is one of my heroes. He went through so much and was so brave and intelligent and funny. We were lucky to have him.

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