Thursday, November 19, 2015

A Few Appropriate Remarks

Courtesy hankeringforhistory.com

In the last few years, I have found myself favoring Abraham Lincoln's Second Inaugural over the Gettysburg Address  as my "favorite" Lincoln speech, or perhaps the one I thought had the most meaning, but as I have recently read and re-read the Gettysburg Address, I am not so certain. I do not know why my appreciation for this speech has grown, but it seems to be doing so. The concluding concepts of a "new birth of freedom" and "government of, by and for the people" really strike a chord with me right now.

Perhaps I can learn to accept that neither speech is better/more meaningful/more important than the other and just appreciate both at the same level. Not everything has to be better or worse than everything else.

Both are remarkable addresses, but since today is the anniversary of the remarks in that small Pennsylvania town, I will reprint those words, from the Bliss copy as on Abrahamlincolnonline.org.

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.

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