November 19, 2013

Gettysburg Address was 150 Years Ago

Today is the 150th anniversary of Abraham's Lincoln Gettysburg Address. I was required to memorize the entire address for my 7th grade history class. I can still remember bits and pieces...

Four score and seven years ago, our forefathers brought forth on this continent a new nation conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. 

That's all I can remember, but I am touched by that first sentence of the address. I get it.  All men are created equal. I cannot explain why we were still debating that little fact in 1863. The address was approximately 272 words long and took about 3 minutes. It's been called "a short speech long remembered". 

As far as I know, none of my civil war ancestors were at Gettysburg. I have toured the battlefield on a very cold and windy day. You can FEEL the reverence of the place. It reminds me of when I visited Ground Zero in New York City nearly a year after 9/11. Although the later was caused by evil and the former by something very different, the emotions were similar.

Filmmaker Ken Burns is encouraging Americans to memorize the address.  My 7th grade history teacher was one step ahead of him.

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