Family, History, Plain Speaking, Politics, Quote of the Day, War

“These Honored Dead”

So there I was, as I often am, chasing down some reference or other that has nothing to do with the point at hand, and I stumbled over the fact that it was only 160 years ago today, on November 19, 1863 (what a very young country this still is), that a President of the United States of America stood to dedicate a battlefield and commemorate the recently slain in his country’s Civil War, and said these words:

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 on a great battle field of that war. We come to dedicate a portion of it, as a final resting place for those who died here, that the nation might live. This we may, in all propriety do.

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 hallowed it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here; while it can never forget what they did here.

It is rather for us, the living, we here be 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 these dead shall not have died in vain; that the nation, 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.

Would you believe there are photos?  The one at the top of this post belongs to the US Library of Congress (Lincoln, BTW is slightly left of center, in the upper third).  The following one is credited to Alexander Gardner, photographer, from November 19, 1863, and is also from the Library of Congress, Civil War Glass Negatives and Related Prints (click to embiggen either or both):


Just thought it might be worth mentioning.

I cannot predict what the next 160 years will bring.  Have at it.

1 thought on ““These Honored Dead””

  1. Reposted from Ricochet. It’s not on the main feed yet, although it might make it. Here’s my most heartfelt comment so far:

    “I stumbled over the fact that it was only 160 years ago today, on November 19, 1863 (what a very young country this still is…”

    My maternal great-grandmother (I was 14 when she died at the age of 99 in 1969, so I remember her clearly) was born four years after Lincoln was assassinated, and she died just a few months before Neil Armstrong walked on the moon.

    My paternal great-grandmother was nine years old when Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address. She died quite young, so I never knew her. And Great-Grandpa on that side–who’d have been 15 when Lincoln was assassinated, also died quite early, just after World War I. (Although both he and his son–my paternal grandfather–were too old to serve, or were exempted because their civilian roles were considered essential, they were leaders in managing rationing for Britain for both World Wars. And both of them suffered what must have been a variant of PTS as a result of the extreme challenges they faced.)

    But thanks both to my own experience, and to my Dad’s older siblings, two of whom remembered Great-Grandpa quite well, I have a treasure trove of information, related via personal experience, that dates well back into the mid-nineteenth century.

    I’m grateful for the perspective that affords me.

    Please, share family stories with your children. If you don’t know your family history, invest in a trial or short-term Ancestry membership, and look it up.

    The more young people we have in this world who come to understand that “history” didn’t start on the day they were born, and that it won’t end on the day they die, the better off we’ll be.

    Any questions?

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