Today is the 157th anniversary of President Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg address. So many people had to memorize this at some point in their life, but so few understand what it means.
The Gettysburg address is a beautiful piece of oratory, but it is also a challenge to America to live to its promise. In the summer of 1776, men gathered in Philadelphia and wrote down the words “All Men were created equal.” (Should’ve said “people”) No one had ever written that down before, and it was going to be the foundation of this country.
Lincoln reminded his audience of then, as these words should remind us today that America is not perpetually guaranteed. It is an idea that must be constantly fought for. He reminded us what we owe to those in our past, and those in our future.
Too few people today fully comprehend what America is supposed to be about. By not understanding what these and so many other soldiers fought and died for, we dishonor them and their sacrifice.
The words are more important than ever, because they remind us what we set out to be. It would be worth a few of everyone’s minutes to re-read it today.
“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 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.”
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