150 years after the Gettysburg Address was delivered on a battlefield by Abraham Lincoln, the words are still riveting. The speech is so short that my son’s third grade class was required to memorize its text. You may hear commentary today about the speech, the circumstances under which it was written, the variations of it, or a bevy of other minutia. However, I would ask that you read the text for yourself.
“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 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 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.”
While most of us remember the first few phrases of the speech, take a moment to focus on those at the end. We are truly a nation, under God, that is like no other. From the words that begin our Constitution to the words that conclude the Gettysburg address, we are truly a “government of the people, by the people [and] for the people.” God bless all those who died on that battlefield, and all the others who have died in service to our country so that we might enjoy life in a nation in which we are truly created equal. That is
What IS Right With America.
Susan C. Rempel, Ph.D.