Monday, November 19, 2007

Seven Score and Four Years Ago

On this day in 1863, President Abraham Lincoln delivered The Gettysburg Address at the dedication of the Soldiers' National Cemetery in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.

Less than 300 words so perfectly chosen that they resonate with us today. With our troops. And our struggle to hold our nation together and restore our rights and our freedoms.

Somehow I doubt that Dubya's "Fight 'em over there so we don't have to fight 'em here" or his "Mission accomplished" will inspire future generations.

I can only imagine what they will think about us....

"So, he stole the election, lied so that the country would go to war, did away with habeas corpus, tortured prisoners and no one noticed because some redneck singer shaved her head, hit a car with an umbrella and gave a lackluster performance on an awards show? Seriously?"

"Yeah, well... you had to be there."

The Gettysburg Address...

"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. "

13 comments:

Steven said...

What a great, yet scary, post. I have always thought why we couldn't come across Presidents in our day that have had as profound effect or has created such positive change for the country. Looking at the future race, I'm not very comfortable.

Elisabeth said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
whimsicalnbrainpan said...

Excellent post!

Stephen Rader said...

Steven - Do you think in out post-JFK, media-hyped culture that we could even HAVE a Lincoln as President? I think the chances are slim to none.

What I find fascinating is that the address is less than 300 words and is given at the dedication of National Cemetery that was erected a mere 4 months after the Battle of Gettysburg. It's been 6 and a half years since 9/11 and we're just starting to see some progress on a memorial at Ground Zero.

What kind of a United States do we actually have when it seems that a broken union was more effective than our modern democracy?

Elizabeth - Thank you for your kind words. And by the way, I didn't remember either - - credit has to go to my nerdy purchase of a Farmer's Almanac Desk Calendar last December. Great blog you have!

Whim - Thank you! You're the best.

ATwistedThought said...

My grandfather on my mothers side had a cousin who married a woman who is related to Abe.I always liked him growing up.I think back then it more the look.Now i just appreciate what he actually did.

Thomas MacEntee said...

Great post! I think that since Lincoln, there have been very few true "public servants" as President. The few I can name would be both Roosevelts, Wilson, Truman, Ford, and Carter. When I think of those who either made money off the Presidency or were led more by ego I think of Grant, Harding, Eisenhower, LBJ, Nixon.

And then there are the Fucktards led by the esteemed Bush family.

supertiff said...

that made me cry.

Shirley Heezgay! said...

What a great post, Stephen!

Why are the visionaries and prophets so condemned? Why does everyone get so afraid of leading people in the direction they know is right?

It's like an abusive relationship. Scared to go, scared to stay.

Stephen Rader said...

A Twisted Thought - Yeah, the more I learn about Honest Abe, the more I appreciate him as a President and a person.

Thomas - "Fucktard" is now officially my nickname for Dubya. It fits him perfectly.

Supertiff - It's a wonderful address. Brilliantly written, isn't it?

Shirley Heezgay - You're so right. It IS like an abusive relationship. And we're just now peeking our way out of it. Hopefully, just like when I left my abusive relationship, the country will get far enough away from it that they will become angry at how they've been treated and take action to make sure that it never happens again.

Dana said...

I read in a fictional book recently (Helen of Troy, for y'all that read) that the time of heroes was over, and then it proceeded to relate the events when heroes are made. I keep saying to myself that the time of great leaders is over, but I hope in the coming years that great leaders will reveal themselves again.

Stephen Rader said...

Dana - Your lips to God's ears.

Mark in DE said...

You're so right. Americans are stupid and have very short memories. They know and care about what is happening right now, right in front of them.

By the way, who is Jennifer Aniston with this week?

Mark

Stephen Rader said...

Mark - Exactly! And what does her hair look like RIGHT NOW? :)