The Gettysburg Address, Happy 4th of July
Happy Fourth of July! Probably not what you would call a typical Fourth of July considering how recent events have impacted our lives. To the point the words freedom and liberty seem a little fuzzy these days.
The country is very divided nobody disagrees on that. There’s protests and violence in many cities and most states. Not the best of times for our nation. But it is more than a minor inconvenience. The division will destroy us if something is not done about it.
Lincoln said it at Gettysburg, “a house divided against itself cannot stand”. And here we are, firmly divided against ourselves. Because of that I thought the events and Gettysburg and the Gettysburg address would be a fitting reminder this Independence Day. Are we still calling it that? It seems so much has changed recently.
I do not know how many people realize how bloody the Civil War was. 10,000 men died at Gettysburg, the bloodies battle of the Civil War.
On June 1, 1865, Senator Charles Sumner referred to the most famous speech ever given by President Abraham Lincoln. In his eulogy on the slain president, he called the Gettysburg Address a "monumental act." He said Lincoln was mistaken that "the world will little note, nor long remember what we say here." Rather, the Bostonian remarked, "The world noted at once what he said, and will never cease to remember it. The battle itself was less important than the speech."
Listen to this if you think political chaos is a new phenomenon. Sumner was a firm, anti-slavery republican. So anti-slavery in fact that he was physically attacked and nearly killed on the senate floor by a pro-slavery democrat. Isn’t that interesting.
Here is what Lincoln said at Gettysburg,
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.
To that end I remain.
Happy 4th of July.