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.
November 19, 1863
Commemorating the 158th anniversary of one of the greatest speeches in human history, The Gettysburg Address, given at the dedication of the Soldiers’ National Cemetery in Gettysburg PA.
I titled this post as I did with my too-soon-departed Ricochet friend, the late Boss Mongo in mind. Many times did he rescue a post verging on the edge of maudlin, by wading in and reminding us that those who gave much–and sometimes all–in the fight to preserve our liberties and our way of life did so for us, the living. And he urged us to honor those sacrifices by enjoying our lives, our Memorial Day picnics, and all our annual celebrations with our families to the fullest. He said that’s exactly what those valiant hearts would have wanted. And that they would not have wanted to guilt us into wasting our lives in sadness and regret.
This year, I’m going to enjoy the holiday season to the fullest extent I can. And, in a spirit of boundless gratitude, give thanks to those whose sacrifices have made such a thing possible. It’s that gratitude which allows me to–in Lincoln’s words–“resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain.” Unlike many (it seems to me) in this day and age, I don’t think I’m ‘owed’ the blessings in my life; I know that they come at a price, and I’m eternally grateful to those who have paid it on my behalf. Thank you.
Happy Holidays, all! God Bless.