Sevenscore and ten years ago President Abraham Lincoln delivered a short address at the dedication of the Gettysburg Soldiers National Cemetery.
For those of you who do not keep score too well, that is 150 years ago.
Tuesday is the 150th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address.
The short address by President Lincoln was given shortly after a two hour long oration by my distant cousin Edward Everett. Someday I will have to read the 13,607 word oration that he gave. See: The Gettysburg Oration
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 honoured 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.
I decided to type out the words of the address from a clipping that I found in one of my Grandma’s scrapbooks. I could have simply found the text and copied it into the post, but wanted to type the words myself.
This clipping was also in the scrapbook. I looked at the cover of the scrapbook and it is labeled February of 1964. My Grandma probably clipped these two items out of a newspaper article that was commemorating the centennial of the Gettysburg Address.
The picture above was taken by David Bachrach and was found in the Mathew Brady collection at the National Archives. The picture was believed to be the only photo of President Lincoln taken at the dedication.
Take time today to ponder the words of President Lincoln.
We must remember “that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”