Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Brave Men, Living and Dead...

When I was four years old, my mom put me in a private school operated by a cousin of ours because I was apparently driving her a little crazy with my incessant talking and exuberance. (Don't worry, she did like me. Honest. She just had this deeply engrained desire to retain her sanity.)
Anyway, I think one of her methods of coping was to keep me busy, and she was pretty inventive when it came to thinking up interesting things for me to do. One day, she called me over and showed me something in a magazine, suggesting that I memorize it so I could recite it at school. It was the Gettysburg Address, and I decided to do just that...learn it by memory and say it in front of the student body.
Even then, I knew these words were golden:
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 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.
On this Veteran's Day, may we indeed, as citizens of these United States, resolve that our dead from every war shall not have died in vain. And may government of the people, by the people and for the people never perish from the earth.


Carolyn said...

This is one holiday that I often forget. Thanks for reminding me to remember.

Caroline said...

Thank you for posting this. My grandfather fought in WWII, Korea, and Vietnam. My father is a retired Captain of the USAF...true patriots and I am so proud of them.

God Bless our Men and Women who serve.

Em said...

i love seeing the flags out on patriotic holidays:-) i don't always love that sean has to wake up early to put them out in our neighborhood, but then i see them and i'm proud. of the veterans and of the scout master;-)

Snarky Belle said...

Beautiful. Thank you Sue.

jen said...

If only all children could have that instilled in them so young.

RobinfromCA said...

This is lovely, Sue. Mr. Lincoln was wrong about one thing . . . we have long remembered what he said on that day so long ago.


Karen said...

There is such peace at the Linclon memorial. As I stood and read the inspired words I felt such a wonderful spirit.

Great post (as always!)

Love ya

Darlene said...

How well I remember you standing up there in a brand new green and pink polka dot dress I made for you giving the Gettysburg address by memory before a big assembly with all the parents there. You were small for your four years of age and everyone was almost dumbfounded that you could recite this from memory, with great expression, no less. I was a pretty proud Mom. You could have heard a pin drop, it was so impressive. I pretty much memorized it along with you and it has always meant a lot to me.

Momza said...

I love that you got to memorize the Gettysburg Address! What a great inspired thought for you! I wish I'd thought of it for my kids--it may not be too late!
Anyway, I enjoyed your post and the music too!

VK said...

What a good Mom.
I made sure to call and thank my Dad yesterday.

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