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.          


  1. That is just beautiful. I am so pleased to read this beautiful essay. I just love it!

  2. Outstanding job, Mr. Burt. I am very impressed with the thoughtful development of your theme. Thank you for sharing this.

  3. Absolutely touching and very talented writer! You have already won!

  4. Wonderful essay! I am very touched by it, and learned new things i didn't understand about the Gettysburg Address. I am going to print it and memorize it, too.
    Thank you!

  5. Great job! Thank you for writing such thoughtful words. You have inspired me to memorize the Gettysburg Address.
    I especially like how you made it so personal and real. We've though something happened a long time ago doesn't mean it is not important today. Thank you!

  6. What a writer and what a personal story. With young talented people like Axel I have confidence in the future of this country.