November 19, 2008

Gettysburg Address

It was on this date - November 19, 1863 - that President Abraham Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address to dedicate the Gettysburg cemetary. It was delivered on the Battlefield where 4-1/2 months earlier some of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War had taken place. Despite being one of the best known speeches of all-time, it was not the principal address of the day. The principal address was delivered by Edward Everett and last for two hours. Everett's speech was well received but would be overshadowed by the brief remarks of the President a few moments later.

Several versions of Lincoln's remarks are known to exist but the one that follows is the only one to have his signature affixed and is believed to be the last draft he wrote:

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.


Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gettysburg_Address

Postscript:
The Washington Chronicle on its report of the activities reported the weather to be fine.
Today's forecast for Gettysburg is a high of 38 degrees and a low of 25 degrees.