On November 19, 1863, in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, President Abraham Lincoln stepped forth and delivered the second greatest speech of his career. (The greatest speech in the history of the English language is Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address. But that’s a discussion for another time…)
Demonstrating an impressive lack of foresight, Lincoln predicted, “The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here.” If the Gettysburg Address had been a mere funeral oration, Lincoln’s prediction might have come true. But the Gettysburg Address was, and is, so much more.
It was, and remains to this day, a call to action, asking us to honor those who died at Gettysburg by taking up their mantle and carrying on their work.
As Lincoln said, the 3,155 Union soldiers who gave the “last full measure of devotion” at Gettysburg died fighting to ensure 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.”
Lincoln understood that the struggle for freedom, justice, and equality, for a government of, by, and for the people, did not end at with the Union’s victory at Gettysburg, nor would it end with the Union’s triumph in the Civil War.
Whether free government is threatened by the treachery of Jefferson Davis or the cruelty of Donald Trump, the great task remains before us.
– P. Sicher