The Gettysburg Address 150 Years Later

by Ryan on November 19, 2013

in Anything Else,Culture,History,Politics

On November 19, 1863, the battlefield around the apocalyptic battle of Gettysburg fought over four months earlier was finally sanitary enough to have a dedication ceremony for a soldier’s cemetery.  It took roughly three minutes for President Lincoln to give the most famous speech in all of American history:

Fourscore 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 battlefield 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 cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot 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.

Today marks the sesquicentennial anniversary of this famous address.  Thousands showed up to commemorate the day.  Missing was President Obama, which is unfortunate — it would be fitting and proper that the first black President would say a few words commemorating a man, a war, and an address which ultimately led to the end of slavery in America.

Apparently, the President had scheduling problems, not being able to make the arduous 65-mile trip to Gettysburg from DC.  It turns out that Obama once omitted the phrase “under God” from a recitation of the address, consciously agreeing to read a version of the address without the phrase in it.  I’m not surprised by the event snub or the godlessness.  It’s kind of sad though.

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