April 10, 2007

thoughts on the Gettysburg Address

Posted in Civil War, fighting, presidents at 11:40 pm by weiszguy

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.

Abraham Lincoln delivered his famous address on the battlefield near Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, on November 19, 1863, four months after 50,000 soldiers lost their lives in the heated three-day battle.

I have a few thoughts on this speech, and I was just sitting here thinking how much you probably want to hear those thoughts – bless you.

First, isn’t it an impressive speech? The language is so lofty, so noble, it’s the kind of language you use in that recurring dream about being the world’s greatest orator. (You have that dream, don’t you?) I wonder if people in general used such lofty language back then? Were Lincoln’s listeners scratching their heads, “Now what did he say?” Did people use this kind of language in their internal thoughts?

Second, this is the entire speech! How can it be so short, but yet be permanently lodged in the American psyche? Today our presidents are known either for their long-winded lectures or for their out-of-context sound bites, e.g. “Ask not what your country can do for you…”, “I am not a crook!”, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!”, “Read my lips, no new taxes!”, “I did not have sexual relations with that woman!” But no modern president is known for a three-minute speech that reverberated throughout the country.

Third, the content of the speech is moving. I (almost) cry for the dead soldiers every time I read it, and especially when I read it out loud. I’m also moved to action. It makes me want to grab a rifle and get out there and fight a war that’s been over for 141 years, just so these honored dead shall not have died in vain.

I could say more, but I’m sure you’d like to share your thoughts, too…

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4 Comments »

  1. Kevin said,

    Ten years after the Civil War and 12 years after the Battle of Gettysburg Edward Plank was born. He became a Hall of Fame pitcher who played most of his career with the Philadelphia Athletics. He is 3rd out of left handed pitchers and 11th among all pitchers in wins with 326. Gettysburg is mainly known for the Battle during the Civil War and also Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address which is recognized as one of the most famous speeches in history. Eddie Plank also known as “Gettysburg Eddie” also brought some recognition to the small town in PA. Although the Civil War far surpasses Eddie Plank’s fame I feel he should still be recognized as a Gettysburg story.

  2. sadaf said,

    ok now i have been on almost every site in the world …
    i am doing an essay about the Gettysburg Address it’s te hardest thing that i have ever done and i really need som info some info that reliable..

  3. matthew said,

    it’s the easiest speech ever to remember :D

  4. google said,

    yo this is sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo cool!! i am doing a report on the battle of gettysburg and the speech is the coolest thing ever!!!!! i love it! but mainly i love the begining!!!

    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.

    soooooo cool!!!!!!!!!

    GO ABE!!!!!!!


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