Tuesday, November 19, 2013

To the Completion of Unfinished Work....

One hundred and fifty years ago - on this very date - two hundred and seventy-two of the most moving, most important words an American President has ever uttered aloud were spoken by a man who could only have been an American creation and who America could use again right here and right now.


The Gettysburg Address

“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 now 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.”

The promise Lincoln made that day - at the dedication of the Soldiers' National Cemetery in Gettysburg - is a promise that has been passed down over the course of a century of a half to each and every one of us.  It is a promise that it is incumbent upon us to honor and to keep.  Not just today.  But every day.

An undying dedication to the completion of unfinished work. 


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