Sun 12 Feb 2012
There was a time in this great nation when the birthdays of Presidents Washington and Lincoln were civic holidays. It may be one of the strange twists of fate that both birthdays were in February, and subsequently the holidays were combined into “Presidents’ Day” – meant to honor Washington, Lincoln and all our chief executives.
But I contend that not all presidents are created equal, and some still deserve special attention. Mostly certainly, Abraham Lincoln is one such person.
So today, on the 203 anniversary of the birth of President Lincoln, we pause to reflect on his life and contributions to preserving the Union and the freedoms we enjoy today.
As a tribute to President Lincoln, we present the text of the Gettysburg Address, still powerful and stirring after all these years.
“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.”