Words that endure for a lifetime

Every once in a while a speech is given that captures the essence of the moment in its entirety. A speech that becomes etched in time and goes far beyond the original intent and portrays the conscience of an entire nation.
From 1861 to 1865 the United States was embroiled in a Civil War that was monumental to say the least. Other countries had gone to war against neighbor countries. Two great armies would march against each other as each tried to destroy each other. In 1861 two great armies met on the field of battle but with a difference; they were both from the same nation.
On July 1-3, 1863 the two great armies met at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Between 45,000 and 51,000 men died in those three days. A very sobering event for our young nation. The Gettysburg cemetery was later dedicated with pomp and what to have been the Gettysburg address was delivered by Edward Everett. Everett spoke for two hours and that was not unusual for such an event. Then a sick and feverish President Abraham Lincoln stepped to the podium to deliver a short message to the nation.
Lincoln’s address was only twelve sentences long as compared to Everett’s 13,607 words yet this short speech has captured the essence of a great nation and still does. This speech is as follows:
“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 battle-field 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.”
God Bless America, God Save the Ukraine and Pray for Israel.

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Thomas FieldsThomas “Tuffy” Fields is an author and regular contributor to The Gazette. He can …

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