Monday, November 19, 2012

7 Score and 9 Years Ago


If you check out any sort of “this date in history” type of list, probably the first entry you’ll find for today is the Gettysburg Address. 

Giving a fairly last-minute speech at the dedication of a military cemetery, President Abraham Lincoln took a few minutes to utter some of the most famous words in American history.  It only took him a few hundred words to remind his audience of the founding principles of our country, and encourage them to go forward re-dedicated to those principles.  As someone who sits down to tap out my thoughts pretty regularly, I have to say that I’m impressed with that sort of efficiency.  And the fact that those few words have taken on such historical significance is nothing short of awe-inspiring. 

It does seem that there is some disagreement among the scholars about the precise wording of the speech, though the variations aren’t great.  And I think everyone is in agreement about the final few words:  “. . . 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.” 

Whether in honor of those lost in battle more than a hundred years ago, those fighting today on the other side of the world, or those who sacrifice in a myriad of ways in service to this country, I think it’s a resolution worth keeping.

gettysburg 11-19-12

Image courtesy Henryhartley via Wikipedia Commons