Friday, January 31, 2014

Essay Contest Submission by Christel Swasey

"What lessons should Americans today draw from the Gettysburg Address?"

By Christel Swasey

In 1863, at the close of the War Between the States, President Abraham Lincoln stood to dedicate a graveyard at the site of the Battle of Gettysburg.  The spilled blood of over 51,000 men from that three-day battle, combined with the war's other battles, totaled over 600,000 and stood as a testimony:  America's founding, "conceived in liberty," set up "four score and seven years" earlier, had been put to a terrible test. 

Yes, America had been "conceived in liberty."  But both the North and the South claimed to be fighting for liberty during the War Between the States.  Whose interpretation of liberty would prevail, or should prevail?

The President of the Confederacy, Jefferson Davis, had said,  “The North was mad and blind; it would not let us govern ourselves, and so the war came, and now it must go on unless you acknowledge our right to self government. We are not fighting for slavery. We are fighting for Independence.”  He had said, "all we ask is to be let alone; that those who never held power over us shall not now attempt our subjugation by arms." Many Southerners had no slaves, did not believe in slavery, and were simply fighting for independence from the North --and its perceived or real abuses. 

At the same time, the North said that its fight was for freedom, too-- for the freedom of human beings enslaved in the American South, and for the reclaiming of the Southern states that had seceded, back into the Union. 

Long before Gettysburg, President Lincoln had said,  "This government cannot endure permanently half slave, half free."  He knew that both the Northern and the Southern interpretations of liberty could not exist within one nation.  He had pointed out a decade earlier that "Most governments have been based, practically, on the denial of the equal rights of men," but he explained that though "We began by declaring that all men are created equal... now... we have run down to the other declaration, that for some men to enslave others is a 'sacred right of government'. These principles cannot stand together." 

Lincoln had also explained that, "When the white man governs himself, that is self-government; but when he governs himself and also governs another man, that is more than self-government; that is despotism."

At Gettysburg, when Lincoln said that our nation was "conceived in liberty" he could not have meant that anyone is at liberty to do anything at any time, including hurting or enslave another.  He meant that any American's right to life, liberty and the pursuit of property ended when that property happened to be another person.  He meant that one person's right to swing his fist ended where another's nose began.  It would not be right for any group-- whether of a certain race, or of a certain wealth, or even of a larger numerical majority, to rule the land; only good and fair laws should rule.  (If the majority ruled, for example, then 49% of the people would be at the mercy of 51% of the people, and the 49%  would have no rights at all.  This was why the founders warned against pure democracy, and set up a Constitution that guaranteed every citizen representative, but law-based, government.  Article IV of the Constitution  promises: "The United States shall guarantee to every state in this union a republican form of government.") 

However, good and fair federal laws concerning slavery were absolutely missing in America.  They didn't fully show up until after the war, with the thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution.

Lincoln saw that while the South would have been justified in seceding or seeking independence for many reasons, the freedom to continue to practice slavery was not one of them.  He appealed to people's religious conscience, to a higher law than the then-current American law.  Even though there wasn't yet any Emancipation Proclamation or federal law against slavery when the war began,  Lincoln's conscience (and many others' consciences) felt slavery was immoral, especially in a country that was "dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal." 

The Gettysburg Address was, in essence, a request.  President Abraham Lincoln pleaded with the living to continue the  "unfinished work" that the founders and the recently killed soldiers had "nobly advanced".  He pleaded that the living would  "resolve" that "these dead shall not have died in vain," and that the American nation would have a "new birth of freedom."  

Today, we are still "engaged in a great civil war"-- not using bayonets and guns, but using the tools of our political process, and the resources of technology, media, persuasion and communication.  We debate and fight over the same principles that caused our forefathers to eventually pick up arms. 

Differing interpretations of liberty still cause contention in our land:  Is the government's right to seek terrorists, or a person's right to privacy from unreasonable search and seizure, a more pressing freedom?  Is the woman's right to choose to have an abortion, or the unborn American's right to be alive, a more pressing freedom?  Is the homosexuals' right to marry and have children, or their future children's right to be raised by a father and a mother, a more pressing freedom?   Is the state's supervision of education, or a teacher's creativity and autonomy in the classroom, a more pressing freedom?  Is a publisher's right to produce child pornography, or a child's right to live in a society free of it, a more pressing freedom?  Is the federal government's protection of the environment on disputed lands, or the state's right to its documented ownership of that land, a more pressing freedom?  Is local autonomy or a highly regulated and standardized system, a more pressing cause?

Americans will always struggle with, and will have to fight in one way or another to define and preserve, the reality behind the word liberty.  "Brave men, living and dead," have and do by their struggles "consecrate" this land, just as President Lincoln said, whether they are the Americans of 1863, of 1776 or of 2014.


Thursday, January 30, 2014

Essay Contest Submission by Sheila Johnston

"What lessons should Americans today draw from the Gettysburg Address?"

By Sheila Johnston

“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 birth of new freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth.”
Abraham Lincoln Nov 19, 1863

There are certainly numerous lessons that can be learned from President Lincoln’s enduring address delivered at the dedication of the Cemetery at Gettysburg.  I choose to focus on just two powerful lessons for America to reflect on today.

Lesson #1;
Always Remember - Never Forget

This lesson, if embraced by each American, will contradict Lincoln’s belief that the world will forget what he said that day.  If people across our nation ponder the words spoken at Gettysburg, this speech can stir our hearts to not only remember his words, but also take into our lives a call to action. We must always remember these words by taking the time to memorize them and then teach our children the power of this speech.  It will ensure that Lincoln’s words will continue to live in our hearts forever.  It will inspire an increased devotion to the great people who have fought and continue to fight for the freedom of this great country.  If not espoused and cherished, these words will become lost to generations of our children. They will lose hope and forget the lessons of the past if they are not repeated and honored in our homes, in our schools and in our communities.

Lesson #2
We Must be Devoted and Galvanized to Act!

We must be so moved to act upon these renowned words that we stand up for the great freedoms we cherish and hold dear.  If we, as good men and good women, abdicate our right to vote, we in essence give our freedom away and do exactly what Lincoln pleads for us to not do - “To let these men die in vain.”  How can we ensure that this nation remains a “government of the people, by the people, and for the people?”  The answer is simple.  If we become disenchanted, lazy and ignorant of the issues before us we will let the ember of the flames of freedom die out from our hearts and we will perish from the earth.  As a State in this great Union we have shamed the noble dead whom Lincoln praises.  Only 35% of eligible voters in Utah actually exercised their voice in the past election.  If we are to ensure that this great nation will not perish from the earth we must do better. We CAN do better. We must always remember the greatest gift these empowering words can give us is freedom.  And freedom will come only if we act and exercise our voice and vote.  We must show our children by our example that voting is one of, if not the most important duty and honored privilege as an American.  The desire to vote, the desire to preserve freedom must burn so brightly in our hearts and in our character that others will want to do the same when they come of age.  I was taught by an honest, humble, and God-fearing father and mother that these lessons were true.  I believed on their words and was empowered as an 18-year old to vote.  I have voted in every election, in every year since I turned 18.  One of my greatest memories of my father and mother’s enduring example of love to county was seeing both of them carry the 2002 Olympic torch for our great country.  And for my father it was one of his last acts on this earth - only months before he died.  My parents have inspired a more devoted life for the fight for freedom in me, and I in return can impart their legacy to my three children and to my 38 nieces and nephews (their grandchildren) as wells as the countless school age children I teach. It also includes several neighbors in whom I come in contact with. Many of which I have registered to vote, who for most of their entire adult life have never voted in a single election.  Love for this country burns in my heart, and having an Olympic torch is a symbol and a constant reminder of that fire.

We can be more devoted. Our hearts must burn for Freedom and the desire to Vote. Voting must become a right of passage, a right of Freedom, and a right of power from God Almighty. We can be more energized and we must Act. We must be more devoted to the cause to vote, and when we vote, others will follow for generations to come!  We WILL ensure that Lincoln did not speak in vain.   The memory of Gettysburg WILL forever live on.

Freedom will forever be spoken in homes of the god-fearing citizens of America.  Thank God for the men at Gettysburg.  Thank God for Abraham Lincoln.  And most of all, Thank God for the United States of America.

I have attached a poetic version of my thoughts from the Gettysburg Address. It was written first a few years ago and it was my inspiration for my submitted essay. I wanted to share it with you all as well.

My Lesson from Gettysburg
I know that what I read is truth and right.
The Spirit of Freedom burns with all its might.

 The price was paid by you for me,
 I know this gift does not come free.

Through freezing cold and blizzard snow,
 All the while fighting that enemy and foe

I see the path you clearly tread,
And hear the cries of fear and dread!

Your days were filled with blood, sweat and faithful tears,
You toiled and struggled and conquered your fears.

You kept your devotion of fire from embers of old
You’ve ignited mine now deep in my soul. 

I too must let this fire burn,
To do all I can from you I’ll learn.

I thank you now my Civil War friend,
For helping me see that eternal end.

I look forward to a coming day
When I meet you and triumphantly say -

“I too have paid a price in life,
With all its toil and daily strife.
A Gettysburg speech beaconed me to rote
A privilege, a Freedom each time I now vote.
I stand before you and proclaim,
“I highly resolve that these men shall not have died in vain!”

God Bless the Men of Gettysburg. God Bless Abraham Lincoln
And God Bless the United States of America

Sheila Johnston (2011)

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Essay Contest Submission by Kent D. Shelton

"What lessons should Americans today draw from the Gettysburg Address?"

 By Kent D. Shelton

Thirteen years before President Lincoln’s famous Gettysburg Address, The Statesman Daniel Webster stood before the Senate and delivered a 3 hour speech in an attempt to avert a civil war between the states. Webster was a gifted orator with many American people following his remarks as they received them by telegraph and newspaper.

In his attempt to unite the country, Daniel Webster, who was a slave owner himself, endorsed the Fugitive Slave Act, a compromise crafted by leaders of the day that would allow runaway slaves to be captured, imprisoned and held without bail or trial.  The burdensome tasks of documentation of the status of freemen and slaves would prove disastrous.  Sympathizers caught aiding fugitive slaves were subject to punishment themselves.  Daniel Webster, in an attempt to court popularity, by his 7th of March 1850 Speech, sought to galvanize his sights upon the office of the President of the United States.  No matter how movingly he spoke of preserving the union, which he did, his controversial ideas threaded into his oratory which were designed to appease abolitionists and slave holders alike, offended the sensibilities of his contemporaries.  It cost him his credibility, destroyed his political aspirations, and eliminated his potential as a future leader.  Twelve years earlier, in an interesting twist of irony,  Abraham Lincoln identified and predicted the dangers of ambitious men, whose passions for power would not stop short of the highest offices in the land. In an address before the Springfield, Illinois Young Men’s Lyceum in 1838, speaking of these passions, Lincoln said: “It thirsts and burns for distinction; and, if possible, it will have it, whether at the expense of emancipating slaves, or enslaving freemen. Is it reasonable then to expect, that some man possessed of the loftiest genius, coupled with ambition sufficient to push it to its utmost stretch, will at some time spring up among us? And when such a one does, it will require the people to be united with each other, attached to the government and laws, and generally intelligent, to successfully frustrate his designs.”1

             To our good fortune today, Americans in that time period read between the lines and understood the motivations of Daniel Webster and others like him.  Ralph Waldo Emerson at that time commented, “We have seen the great party or property and education in the country driveling and huckstering away, for views of party fear or advantage, every principle of humanity and the dearest of hopes of mankind; the trustees of power only energetic when mischief could be done; imbecile as corpses when evil was to be prevented.  Our great men succumb so far to the forms of the day as to peril their integrity for the sake of adding to the weight of their personal character the authority of office, or making a real government titular.  Our politics are full of adventurers, who having by education and social innocence a good repute in the state, break away from the law of honesty and think they can afford to join the devil’s party.  ‘Tis odius, these offenders in high life…” 2

            So why this history on what happened before the Gettysburg Address? Consider for a moment, why would Americans choose a man without an impressive resume of honors and distinctions to be their President and leader?  What was it about a short speech, with humble acknowledgement of the many who gave the ultimate sacrifice that touched America?  All who read this speech today cannot finish it, without a sense of increased devotion to the unfinished work of insuring that those who died at that place will not be forgotten or our country fail because of our neglect.  Suppose for a moment that someone else was in President Lincoln’s place that day with a long speech that assigned blame and outlined a new program for national improvement… Something like that would surely have required doublespeak, clarification and back peddling to keep it from ending up in the dustbin of history. Can you imagine how divisive that would become to the nation? There is a saying attributed to Abraham Lincoln: “You can fool all of the people some of the time, and some of the people all of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time.” 3 If in fact, it was said by President Abraham Lincoln, it certainly goes a long way to explain his character and desire to speak truth without political agenda or future election possibilities. When a man has no passions for distinction and glory, he can speak from his heart.  And people listen, understand and treasure the message for decades.

            Thank goodness for our system of government where the people can choose to have the right person in place when the torn fabric of the nation needs him. Thank goodness for a man like Lincoln who knew how to apply the salve of healing to America’s wound.  Thank goodness for a man like Lincoln, a man who by his very nature would link heaven and earth in the great destiny of America.   
2. The American Legacy, A Pageant of Great Deeds and Famous Words. p.177
3.  “Abe” Lincoln’s Yarns and Stories by Alexander K. McClure c.1904, p. 184                 

Wasatch County GOP selects Allen Luke as new Wasatch County Assessor

Wasatch County Council,

On January 28th, 2014 the Wasatch County Republican Party selected Allen Luke for your approval to fill the vacancy in the position of Wasatch County Assessor. 

The election was conducted under the rules of the Wasatch County Republican Party and met all the requirements of the Utah State Code sections 17-17-2 and 20A-1-508. 

Best Regards,

Aaron Gabrielson

Wasatch County Republican Chair

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Essay Contest Submission by Robby Fredericks - 7th Grade

"What lessons should Americans today draw from the Gettysburg Address?"

Robby Fredericks - 7th grade

The Gettysburg Address can help us in many ways. It reminds us that men fought for this country and that the country did not come without bloodshed. We also are reminded that the “government of the people, by the people, for the people should not perish from the earth.”
Millions of men fought for this country. Whether you were a confederate or part of the union, there were many men who fought in the civil war. About 2 million soldier were Union soldiers and about 1 million soldiers fought for the confederates ( Brothers were fighting brothers, cousins against cousins, and father verses son. If you were a man or a boy you had a side that you had to choose.
This country most definitely did not come without bloodshed. About 620,000 of the 3 million soldiers died from: combat, accident, starvation, and disease.  If you were killed in combat you either were killed by a gun, a bayonet, or a cannon. 58% of the 620,000 soldiers were killed by a gun. Now some people might think that a bayonet was a type of gun. It was really just an extension to the gun. The extension was a sword. Only .2% of the 620,000 soldiers were stabbed and killed by the bayonet. 5.7% of the 620,000 soldiers were shot and killed by a cannon. And the rest were killed and/or died from something else (

Abraham Lincoln said that, “The government of the people, by the people, for the people should not perish from the earth.” Which is true, we should not let this country perish because it is an amazing country. If we are going to keep an amazing country we must keep it by the people by having the people vote for who they think will be the best president and leaders which will make the best decisions on bills, war, etc. We must do research on the person we think should be president. We should look at their grades, criminal record, other job applications, and their personality. If you look at their grades you will find if they turned in their assignments and if they did them well. If they have good grade that shows that they followed through with their tasks. Then you should look at their criminal record and see if they have gotten in to any trouble with the law. If they have that probably means that they cheated on their grades which means that they have to cheat and that does not work if you want to be the president of the United States of America. You should also look at their job applications. If they have a good job application that probably means that they were a good worker and got their jobs done.  But, you cannot just look at their job applications alone. If you do, you will not know how well of an education they got.  If they do not have a good education that person should not be the president because they would not know the things that they must know like economy, debt, etc. We should also see how they act around other people because you need to be able to work and listen to other people. If you are not able to listen to other people than you will probably not be able to come up with the most efficient ideas that could help the United States of America.

That is how the Gettysburg Address can help us and the United States of America. It helps us remember that many people fought and died for this country, that this country was built by the people for the people and that we should not let this great country fall.   

Essay Contest Submission by Erika Fredericks - 6th Grade

"What lessons should Americans today draw from the Gettysburg Address?"

by Erika Fredericks - 6th Grade

The Gettysburg Address is one of the most important speeches in the history of the world. It has so many important lessons that we can all learn. There are small lessons and big lessons that we can learn.  

          Abraham Lincoln never used I or me. That means that we were all in the war together. Even if we weren’t fighting in the war we still need to work as a team. At the end of the Gettysburg Address He said “And that government of the people, by the people, for the people.” That means we need to work together to make the world a better place to be and live. We can all make a difference in the world, just by smiling at someone. A smile spreads like a seed. If one person smiles at another person it will keep on spreading. We could do service and help someone in need. My mom always says “treat everyone like you want to be treated.” Then when I do something mean to one of my sibling she also says “How would you feel if they did that to you.” I think that is a very good advice for everyone.

          Another lesson that we can learn is that everyone is created equal. Even though we don’t have slaves we still don’t treat each other equal. In any school everyone splits themselves in to groups. There might be groups of smart kids, geeks, soccer players, dancers, and popular kids; they will all stick together. The popular kids will leave people out of their group, they will be mean to them because they are not popular like them. That is same with any other group. Every time that happens there is always one person that doesn’t have a group so they always get picked on. Abraham Lincoln said in the Gettysburg address “All men are created equal.” Everyone expects to be treated the right way. In our schools that is not happening. Right now a lot kids pick on someone even if they don’t realize that they are but, they are, and that can ruin someone’s life because they feel like no one likes them.  Like I put in my first lesson, my mom always says “Treat others like you want to be treated,” and “How would you feel if someone did that to you.” If we all treated each other the same we wouldn’t have some of the problems that we do in our schools than we did before we were being nice to one each other.

          My last lesson that I found was that we need to honor the brave men and women that fought for our country. Abraham Lincoln said in the Gettysburg address “But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate -- we can not consecrate – we con not hallow -- this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above to our poor power to add or detract.” He is not saying that we are weak he is saying that they gave their lives for us and we can’t do anything worth anything more than what they did. We need to honor the things those honorable people did for us. They also fought for the slaves. They fought their families for the people that didn’t even have the same color skin as them. They fought for the people that everyone hated because of their skin.  They fought for the people that could have worked for them and did all of their chores.

          In conclusion, I think that there are many different lessons that we can learn from the Gettysburg Address, but I chose three. Being in the war together and working together happens whether we know it or not. Everyone is equal and my last lesson that I chose was that we need to honor those who fought for our country. These are great lessons that we can all learn.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Essay Contest Submission by Axel Burt - 10 years old - 5th Grade

"What lessons should Americans today draw from the Gettysburg Address?"

By Axel Burt - 10 years old, 5th Grade

Seven score and eleven years ago, President Abraham Lincoln stood on the Gettysburg battle field and gave a two and a half minute speech on the place where 51,000 people had just died.

He gave the Gettysburg speech 151 years ago and we still think it is important.

I asked my grandpa why he thought it was important and he said that when he was 11 years old he had nailed the Gettysburg address up on his wall and memorized it.

So I asked him to recite the Gettysburg address, so he started, "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…" and the only reason he didn’t finish reciting was that he started to cry.

I think my grandpa started to cry because of a few reasons. First of all, 51,000 people had died in that war. That’s many times more than all of Heber valley. If we had lived back then, imagine how horrible it would be if everybody in Heber would have died on the first day of that three day war!

Second of all, I think my grandpa was crying because as it says here, "…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."   I think he was crying because he thinks that they might be looking down from heaven and wondering if have actually died in vain. 

Third of all, at the end of the speech President Lincoln said, "government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth".   I think my grandpa thinks that good government is starting to crumble. And if the good government crumbles then our freedom goes away.

He also might have been crying because his grandfather's grandfather risked his life because he believed that all people should be free, including  black people.

Christian Deyarmond was my great-great-great-great-grandpa. He was born just forty five miles from Gettysburg, in Pennsylvania.  He wanted to go to the Gettysburg war but he couldn't because he only had one lung so he had to stay home.  But years before that, when he was a boy, instead of just sitting home and doing nothing about slavery, he helped the underground railroad.

He and his brothers guarded the wagons that looked like they had hay or bagged grain on the wagon, but really there were runaway slaves there who were trying to escape to freedom from the South.  Christian's father was a doctor and he knew about what his sons were doing but he couldn't help hide the slaves at the doctor's office because so many people went there. So they had to hide the slaves at a widow's house nearby.

I am proud to be a descendant of my great grandfather Christian Deyarmond.

If he would have had a normal lung and had gone to war I probably wouldn't be writing this essay about Gettysburg.  I think: millions of other kids have not been born because their grandfathers died in that war.  But I'm still grateful that those grandfathers fought and won the war for freedom for so many people.          

Essay Contest Submission by Pam Fredericks

"What lessons should Americans today draw from the Gettysburg Address?"
By Pam Fredericks

Seven score and ten years ago, one of the greatest leaders the world has ever known, gave a humble and short speech at a dedicatory service for a battle ground known as Gettysburg. The year was 1863. America was in the midst of a great and dreadful civil war. The war was started and fought over the subject of slavery and the justification of representation and states’ rights. The battle of Gettysburg witnessed the largest number of casualties of that war and was the turning point for the victorious Union. The Gettysburg Address is one of the most fundamental and inspirational speeches of American history. The author was Abraham Lincoln. He was a very wise and modest man. Not only did he give us the Gettysburg Address, he had a way with words and quotes such as, “Common looking people are the best in the world, that is the reason the Lord makes so many of them” and “No matter how much cats fight, there always seem to be plenty of kittens”, and “If I were two-faced, would I be wearing this one?” (

Americans today should draw lessons from the Gettysburg Address. It is full of knowledge and wisdom and is of serious yet steady significance. There are battles brewing over realities that cannot be altered because people do not like them, do not want them, or agree with them. The Founding Fathers utilized unchanging principles in constructing the way our country should be governed to protect everyone from themselves and others. The internal battles of our present day are unique but not new, and we can learn from the past to protect our future. Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address draws on the past, present, and future. There are three important words that validate this theme: we, they, and us.

A new nation declared in 1776, used the argument that “all men are created equal” to justify their independence.  Our society of 2014, has a hard time knowing what this really means. Equality refers to worth, having the same value. A twenty dollar bill is still worth twenty dollars even if it is new and crisp or old and worn. In the history of the world different groups have been treated unequal for various reasons. America has not been immune either. Equality is a state of being, a way of looking at other people since no two people are exactly the same. When we try to equalize things we lose the incentive and empowerment to be our best self. Whenever we esteem ourselves better or worse than another we invite the civil diseases such as entitlement, justification, blame, unaccountability, negativity, skewed senses of toleration and fairness, disobedience, and addictions. We, meaning society as a whole, at times dedicate ourselves to an “I deserve” proposition and a, “You owe me” mentality. I catch myself in some of these traps at times so I try to quickly get out of them by remembering that I can only be the best me and think about what makes someone the best them. Just because someone does something better, worse, or differently than me, it does not detract from who I am or who they are.

Taking a true look at ourselves makes it easier to have a true look at others. Lincoln questioned whether the nation that was “conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men were created equal” would “long endure”. From the past, we know that those who stood up for that proposition ended up triumphant. So, if history questions itself and we look at other nations that have forgotten this proposition that we are equal and we treat each other and form policies under flattering, yet false pretenses, we will face possible destruction and a “government of the people, by the people, for the people” will perish. The role of government is to serve and empower the people as individuals. We need to remember that people are created equal in that they are not all the same but all have the same worth.

Lincoln honored, “those who here gave their lives”, the Union soldiers. Those men were fathers, sons, brothers, friends, and neighbors. Union and Confederate soldiers both fought valiantly for causes they thought just. Military service is one of the noblest things a person can do to honor themselves, their family, and their country. Their sacrifices along with their families’ are incomprehensible. The greatest sacrifice is life, but there are worse things than death which can haunt generations. The price of war is so great that Lincoln stated, “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 power to add or detract.”

We know the effects of war are devastating to say the least. Honoring the notion that we are created equal in our day will continue “the unfinished work which they who fought here”. We need to see ourselves and each other as people, not as black and white, old and young, male and female, or Democrat and Republican. We also definitely do not need to be slaves to a system of government that is not fully functioning as it was founded by not upholding the principles to which it is meant.

The United States has seen many wars and conflicts since the Civil War and we owe the same respect and reverence to those men and women who served this country, even if we don’t agree with the political platforms upon which these wars were fought. We are in debt to the heroes of the Spanish-American War, World War I, World War II, Korean War, Vietnam War, the Bay of Pigs Invasion, the Persian Gulf War, the Intervention in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Invasion of Afghanistan, and the Invasion of Iraq. We show our appreciation for these heroes and the things they defend and represent by remembering their sacrifices and teaching younger generations about them and events of the past and issues of the present. We uphold their bravery by treating each other kindly. We are losing the art and skill of being able to agree to disagree.

Being true to yourself liberates you and others to do the same.  Acknowledging and accepting that we are different and all have a unique set of weaknesses and strengths creates equality and unity. Some people help the government be “of the people”, some help the government be “by the people”, and some help the government be “for the people”, and some help by being the people. If we remember and demonstrate this, then we will take Lincoln’s admonition to dedicate ourselves and resolve that no one who has fought and died will have done so in vain. We must not let this nation perish from the earth and it begins with each individual. Let us live with “increased devotion” by our interactions with people every day and what we choose to make our priorities. Choices of individuals lead to choices of generations which leave footprints in the past, mindsets of the present, and heartache or peace for the future.

We can remember and learn from the past so we will have a bright future and our government of, by, and for the people “shall not perish from the earth”. Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address teaches us that we should remember that all men are created equal, we should honor those people who defend that truth, and we should show that we believe it!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Essay Contest Submission by Anneka Winder - 11th Grade

"What lessons should Americans today draw from the Gettysburg Address?"

by Anneka Winder - 11th Grade
We finished the Civil War unit in  US History class right after the whole "Getty Ready" craze to memorize the Gettysburg Address for its anniversary swept the schools in November with their billboard ads posted everywhere and such-- at the time, I didn't participate in it. I'm not big on "memorization"-- what's the point of memorizing a whole slew of words if they're just empty text to me? Instead, I read it over. Thought about the context. Tried to understand why we value this speech as much as we do because clearly it stuck among a menagerie of speeches delivered in this era.

 If we're going to be honest, I still can't recite anything past, "Forescore and seven years ago--" but what does that matter? Memorization means nothing if you can't take something from what you've memorized. After we went through this lesson in US History, I'm beginning to see what modern Americans should have to do with it. It's got nothing to do with memorization, but analysis-- taking the approach in this address to future issues in our country.

 Speeches, it seems, are expected to be long. We get worked up about them. We spool our points with drab bits of prose that don't fit the context, but darn well look nice on paper-- and they add a few minutes on top of that, so we keep them and cannot possibly understand why people are passing out on the stands. The Gettysburg Address, one of the most profound pieces in our nation's history, took four minutes to give. And why is this? Because Lincoln knew the importance of words--plain words-- and he knew where the extent of words must stop for actions to take over.

 The Gettysburg Address no doubt came during a time of mourning-- fifty thousand young men dead, and you're going to have tremendous turmoil in the emotions-- you're going to want consecration, as Lincoln mentions in his speech, for these men who have passed. Yet, Lincoln admits that he has no authority to consecrate this land through his speech-- that the men who fought and died in the battle did that already.

 "The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here," said he, "but it can never forget what they did here." He continues on to add that it was now the living's delegation to finish what these men started so that their deaths wouldn't be for naught. That the time for speaking was over-- and so the Gettysburg Address ended. No frills. No grandiose, hour-long oratory. But he said exactly what the country needed to hear-- that it is our actions which will conclude the war, not our speeches.

  There's something to be learned here-- we, as Americans, can talk about how we think our country's collapsing. We can talk about which politicians we like or dislike, we can talk up politics to a froth-- I've seen it many a time at dinner parties, laying down the issues and then doing nothing about them. But unless we conclude our speech, like Lincoln, and do something about the issues... our talk will be in vain. Our battles, our documents, all that we stand and yell at for hours on the mountaintop will be in vain. We'll be in vain-- and that's more horrendous than not talking at all.

 It is our duty in the name of all those who cannot to sustain our country through actions, and just as the Gettysburg Address-- all the talking in the world will not do that unless we eventually shut our mouths and change it.

 I don't know if the Gettysburg Address was meant to be memorized-- it's certainly a noble point if you do, don't mistake me-- but remember that we don't ever have to give the speech, word for word. We have to learn from it as a nation. And, at the end of the day, the Gettysburg Address was not a pretty speech-- it was an invitation to act and end the war. Lincoln did so after he gave his address, and so must we with current conflicts. Because really, if we don't do anything after speaking, then why in the world did we speak at all?

Monday, January 13, 2014

Tickets On Sale for 2014 Lincoln Day Breakfast with Sen. Hatch and Mia Love

2014 Wasatch County Lincoln Day Breakfast
with Speakers
Senator Orrin Hatch and Mia Love, Candidate for the 4th Congressional District
Saturday, February 8th
Breakfast service begins 8am
Program: 8:30am - 10:00am
Soldier Hollow Clubhouse, Midway
Tickets available at or

contact Kim Powell at (435) 654-5986 - Limited Seats Available

Friday, January 10, 2014

Essay Contest Submission by Kelly B. Jarvis

"What lessons should Americans today draw from the Gettysburg Address?"
By Kelly B. Jarvis

As time honored as the Gettysburg address is, as a youth--I never considered it a great speech. How could a speech be great when given at the site of so many war dead?  In my mind, as a youth--great speeches were those that celebrated great accomplishments or moved people to high achievement.  The Gettysburg address did neither as far as I was concerned. When given the opportunity in 8th grade History  to either memorize the Gettysburg address or the Declaration of Independence,  I-- feeling the latter was far more meaningful,  chose to memorize the Declaration, despite its extra length.  I was only one of a few who did because the Gettsyburg had only 263 words  vs.1,300 words for  the Declaration ----and the amount of credit awarded for either was the same.  But Thankfully, Miss Woodward, -- later adjusted the credit to my favor for the longer memorization.

Fifty years later, with a clearer view, but not eyesight-- life experience has allowed me to see the stirring greatness embodied  in the Gettysburg address.. It drives home a singularly significant point—a promise (if you will)  that  “government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth” if we highly resolve it to be.

What changed me?  My pocketbook!!!! After high school, I lived in South America as a missionary where I learned that government by and for the people is for most souls-- a faint hope.  With hyperinflation in Argentina then around 80% per year and still 40%  now, I learned from that experience that government is not the solution to inflation, it is the very cause of inflation.  After South America, I worked for Wirthlin meats  when a very misguided Republican administration attempted  price controls on none other than the small business retailer in order to bring down inflation. Federal price control  inspectors would enter the Wirthlin plant on 200 S and 800 E. in Salt Lake City and demand to see the books in order to make sure Wirthlins was not raising its prices despite the rise in the company’s wholesale costs.  Customers of  Joe Wirthlin would ask, “How can a Republican Administration stoop to this?”  Joe would answer,  “Don’t ask me!, Nixon’s campaign strategist for both elections was Richard Wirthlin, he’s my brother---price controls are not what my mother, a devout Republican, taught my brother to teach Richard Nixon!”  From that, I learned that government is not the solution to high prices, it is the very cause of  high prices.  During my professional schooling in Chicago, I watched as democratic and Republican mayors of  big  U.S. cities begged for bailouts from the federal government.  I learned that the federal government is not the solution to decay in the cities, it is the very cause of decay in the inner cities.  And what have we learned in early 2014?  That the federal war on poverty program for the past fifty years has been an abject failure.
I did not plan to travel from Chicago to New York in August of 1974  just to be climbing the Statute of Liberty exactly when Nixon resigned from office. Nor did I plan to be sitting at the Lincoln Memorial the very next day or in Gettysburg  later that afternoon reading the famed address on the plaque so soon after a sitting President resigned in disgrace.  But from it all, I have learned that those of the opposition cannot dash our hope for government by the people unless Republicans join them.   Now, (to paraphrase Lincoln), this very minute we are engaged in a great ideological battle, testing whether this nation should control better than half of the economy and think that it can endure. Ladies and Gentlemen in the Spirit of the simple brevity of the Gettysburg Address, I conclude this essay  in a little more than 500 words,  by saying we must highly resolve to take back the U.S. Senate in this next election and the Presidency in  2016 with a full majority in House and Senate, or I feel certain this Nation for the people and by the people will not long endure.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

2014 Lincoln Day Essay Contest - $600 in Prizes

Wasatch County Republican Party
2014 Lincoln Day Essay Contest - $600 in Cash Prizes

In commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address: 
"What lessons should Americans today draw from the Gettysburg Address?"

·       Using between 500 and 1,500 words answer the question "What lessons should Americans today draw from the Gettysburg Address?”

·       Submissions are limited to one per person is open to all Wasatch County residents. 

·       Each essay must reflect the contestant’s own research, writing and original thinking.

·       Prizes: 
o   $200 cash prize for the overall winner 
o   $100 cash prize to the winner in each of the following categories:
§  Elementary Student Category: Students in 4th grade and younger
§  Intermediate/Middle School Category: Students in 5th grade to 8th grade
§  High School Category: Students in 9th grade to 12th grade

§  Adult Category: Adults 18 years of age and older

·       All winners will receive VIP seating at the Wasatch County Lincoln Day Breakfast on February 8th at Soldier Hollow where they will present their essays and receive their prize.

·       Deadline for submissions is February 2nd, 2014.  Essays should be submitted in plain text format via email to  Include your full name, student grade if applicable, address, phone number and email address with your submission. Essays will be posted on the Wasatch GOP website at The Wasatch County Republican Party Executive Committee will judge the essays. Winners will be announced on Wednesday, February 5th, 2014.