Tuesday, February 25, 2014

2014 Neighborhood Caucus Elections are March 20th.

Every two years, each neighborhood meets together to choose delegates to represent them. These delegates have the important responsibility of narrowing down candidates for the primary and general election. You can help choose these delegates, or be a delegate yourself by attending your Neighborhood Caucus Election on Thursday, March 20th at 7pm

Find Your Precinct Meeting

Caucus locations for each precinct are posted here.  

You can find your precinct number here. 

You can also find your precinct using the maps posted here.

Pre-register, Pre-Nominate, Or See Whose Running

You can register in advance, or declare yourself a candidate for a precinct office at the new VoterClick website here:  VoterClick Website .  Remember, you can still nominate at the caucus meeting. Also, if you are not currently a registered Republican, you can affiliate at the door of the meeting.  

Meet Your Precinct Candidates at 6pm

Each precinct will be holding a "Meet The Candidate Meeting" before the caucus begins.  If you would like to discuss the issues and meet anyone running this is your chance. These open meetings begin at 6pm at your caucus location.  

Can't Attend On Caucus Night?  Vote Absentee!  

Absentee voting is allowed this year. Ballots are only available 24 hours in advance of Caucus night at the VoterClick website here: VoterClick Website

Learn More About Utah's Caucus System

The videos below are a great introduction to the Neighborhood Caucus system.  

 Come Join With Us

 Preserve Our Neighborhood Caucus System

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

2014 Lincoln Day Address By Aaron Gabrielson

2014 Wasatch County Lincoln Day Address
By Aaron Gabrielson, Wasatch County Republican Chair

I'd like to thank everyone that came out on this snowy morning to support the Wasatch County Republican Party. 

This morning I'd like to talk about values vs. principles, and to help you see our dysfunctional Federal government in a new light.   

Our party is unified and working hard to advance Republican principles in Wasatch County. Principles of thrift, family, of promoting opportunity for all, of rewarding education and hard work, and protecting our divinely given individual rights. By being here you are part of the solution.

If you want to solve a problem, if you don't like the results you are getting, look for the principle that governs that outcome. "There are a thousand hacking at the branches, for every one striking at the root". Striking at the roots means getting to principles. 

Values are not the same as principles. Values are social norms -- they're personal, they’re subjective. All of us have values. Even criminals have values. The question we have to ask ourselves is if our values are based on principles? 

Our behavior is governed by values, but consequences are based on principles

Principles are timeless, universal, natural laws. Like the law of gravity, they never cease to operate. You don't have to agree with the law of gravity to still be subject to its results. Like all principles it doesn't care if you understand it or accept it.

Stephen Covey said "Humility teaches us to understand and live by principles, because they ultimately govern the consequences of our actions. If humility is the mother of all virtues, courage is the father. Because to truly live by principles when they are contrary to social norms and values takes enormous courage."

 I hope our party will never cave to what is popular, to compromise with error and ignorance, but will remain true to its bedrock, time tested principles.

Teaching the principles of our party to the citizens of Wasatch County, and to the next generation is why we have a Republican party.  Encouraging our elected officials to hold to these principles, even when it isn't popular is why we have a Republican party. I ask you today to help us in this effort, by donating to the Republican Party.  Your funds will be put to good use in accomplishing this purpose. I would ask you to not leave today without giving something; we can't do this job without you.

I'd like to talk for a minute about our party's obsession with the Federal government. It seems to be our favorite past time to lament the state of our Republic. So let me lament with you for a moment and then propose a cure for our lamentations.

In America, President Obama has an approval rating that continues to sink ever lower, yet in the District of Columbia, his approval rating stands at over 80%. And it's no wonder; the Washington area has eight of the eleven richest counties in America. The top three wealthiest counties in America are all suburbs of Washington D.C. now. The good times always roll in D.C.

Recently Peggy Noonan compared Washington with the shallow and corrupt capital in the Hunger Games. She said, "It is the chattering capital of a nation it less represents than it dominates." We watch with alarm as the Federal behemoth grows, borrows, spends, and adds thousands of absurd complexities to our lives from a multitude of acronymed bureaucracies.  It gives us that helpless, hopeless feeling, of being in an out of control car heading for a cliff.  I’m sure you know the feeling I’m talking about.

 Let me help with a dose of perspective. What looks strong and unstoppable is actually weak.

By growing every bigger and more complex, the Federal government becomes more irrelevant. I propose that the Federal government in its current expanded form, far removed from its original purpose, is well on its way to becoming an anachronism, a relic of a bygone age. Young people today live in a time of constant technological progress. They are growing up in a world where thousands of apps appear every week to solve any problem they can think of for a dollar.

The Feds on the other hand, have taken three years and spent half a billion to create a healthcare website that still isn't working right. I read that the department of the Federal Register is still using floppy disks to move information around. I'm not kidding. They are starting to have trouble ordering them. In 2014, where do you still buy computer floppy disks?

The Federal Government is like a boulder in a stream, the water runs right around it. They are too slow, and burdened by bureaucracy to even hope to keep up with the pace of innovation and change. The idea that they can regulate and control what they don't even understand is laughable. Like a game of whack-a-mole, they put down one disruptive idea, while a hundred new ones surface. Federal power is being dwarfed by the exponential growth of technological achievement and progress. My nine year old daughter today has far more advanced global communications in her hand, than President Reagan had available to him in the 1980s.

The Internet combines the best ideas of billions of people, to produce abundance on a scale unimaginable to the last generation.

There are seven billion people on the planet. Three billion people are connected to the Internet right now. In the next decade another three billion new people are going to be connected. These are voices with new ideas that have never been heard from before. They will provide contributions to the world that we can't predict or imagine. 

I have total confidence in the future, because the people themselves are now empowered with everything they need to solve the grand challenges of our time. We are not on the cusp of disaster; we are not in a car headed for a cliff, but on the cusp of a golden age of abundance. And the Feds can't stop it.  They couldn't prevent if they tried ... and in their misguided attempts to help, they will try.  

Let's continue to work toward a Federal government that lives within its constitutional role, where it can flourish, instead of becoming an irrelevant embarrassment as it expands far beyond its intended purpose. 

Now is not the time to despair. The power is with the people, like it never has been before, and that should give us unabashed confidence for the future. 

2014 Wasatch County Lincoln Day Success!

Wasatch Lincoln Day was a success! The room was sold out again this year. Thanks to the everyone that supported this event including Gov. Gary Herbert, Sen. Hatch, Mia Love, Rep. Jason Chaffetz, Utah AG Sean Reyes, John Dougall, Jonathan Johnson, Sen. Van Tassell, Sen. David Hinkins, Rep. Kraig Powell, the entire Wasatch County Council, Heber City police, Wasatch Sheriffs Department, Timpanogas Intermediate School Choir, Wasatch GOP officers , Wasatch County Republicans and the Wasatch Wave! 

I appreciate our eight sponsors for providing the resources for a great event: Rep. Chaffetz, Redmond Inc, Gov. Herbert, Sean Reyes, Wasatch County Council, FreedomWorks, Dental Marketing.Net and Jerry White.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

2014 Essay Contest Winners Announced!

Winners Announced For 2014 Wasatch County Lincoln Day Essay Contest

Many thanks to everyone that took the time to submit an essay. They were very thoughtful and made me proud to be a resident of Wasatch County.  All the winners will be presented with a cash prize at the Lincoln Day Breakfast this Saturday at Soldier Hollow.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Essay Contest Submission by Colton Osguthorpe - 11th Grade

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

By Colton Osguthorpe - 11th Grade

           “Four score and seven years ago . . .” as most Americans know this is how the Gettysburg address, one of the most important speeches in our nation’s history, begins. Yet few know its significance and understand how important it is to us as a nation today. Though it was given 150 years ago in a time vastly different than ours it still applies to us today and there is much that we can learn from it. The Gettysburg address is unique and ground breaking in that it places the responsibility of maintaining and improving our nation not on state governments and not on the federal government but on the people. It is our duty, as Americans, to ensure unity, good government, and to continue our traditions of freedom.

          Even though this speech was given in the midst of a horrible and violent conflict, where brother fought brother, President Lincoln did not speak in terms of north or south but as a united nation. In his speech there is no partisanship, and from this we can learn much. Today many issues divide us as a nation. Divisive issues like abortion, the role of government, debt, and gun control tear at the very fabric of our national unity. Many times we see ourselves as Republicans or Democrats, liberals or conservatives. Horrible things are said to each other on both sides. Often it seems like we will never get along and that hate and disrespect towards one another have become commonplace and okay. We must follow the counsel of President Lincoln and realize that though we may be different and have different views it is our responsibility as Americans to treat each other with respect and have the understanding that even though we are different our end goal of a better nation are the same and that we have more in common than not. We must not allow anything to divide our nation and we must not repeat the mistakes of those who came before us.  

          Today many people are quick to criticize our government and how it is run, dissatisfaction with congress is at an all-time low. Yet voter turnout for the 2012 presidential election was 57.5% according to the Bipartisan Policy Center. People complain about President Obama and his policies but they don’t vote and they don’t do anything to enact change. President Lincoln stated that government is “of the people, by the people, and for the people”. It is our responsibility, as the people, to ensure good government and to participate in elections and policy making. According to Statisticsbrain.com 1.3 million Americans have died in wars. Is this how we repay that sacred sacrifice? With 57.5% voter turnout, barely half? The Gettysburg address was given at the dedication of the Gettysburg cemetery and in it President Lincoln stated that “from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion”. Have we lived up to this promise? Have we honored those who gave the “last full measure of devotion”? There is much more that we could do as a nation to ensure good government and honor those who have died for our freedoms.

          America has a long and strong tradition of freedom and opportunity, yet it is an unfinished work. We have a responsibility to continue the great democratic experiment that is America. In the Gettysburg address President Lincoln stated that “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”. We must remain dedicated to the work of our forbears who gave their blood, sweat, and tears so that we may enjoy the freedoms and opportunities that we have today. As Americans it is our responsibility to continue the strong tradition of freedom that our founders began. Today in an ever changing and hostile world we are surrendering many of our freedoms in the name of security. It was Benjamin Franklin who said that “those who sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither”. We must follow President Lincoln’s counsel and always dedicate ourselves to defending and continuing our freedoms and continuing the democratic traditions of our forefathers.

          The Gettysburg address can seem ancient and irrelevant today, given in a bygone time that few Americans know deeply about. Yet it still holds themes and messages that apply to us today. Its message of freedom, unity, and civic responsibility are often forgotten in today’s hectic and fast paced world, but there is much we can learn from it. The high bar that President Lincoln set for our nation in this historic speech has not been reached and many of his challenges to us have been forgotten. As President Lincoln said “it is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us”. We must remain dedicated to the great task of ensuring unity, good government, and continuing our traditions of freedom.

Essay Contest Submission By Heidi Iordachescu

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

By Heidi Iordachescu

I am a wife.  I am a mother.  I am a teacher.  I am a citizen of the United States of America.  I am like you.  I have long been an admirer of President Abraham Lincoln and the principles that he stood for.  I have often thought of him as one of my heroes.  As a teacher I have the opportunity to have an influence on my students.  I take this as a serious responsibility and would never abuse that trust I have with them and their parents.  Early in the school year we were told about the challenge to memorize and apply the principles discussed in the Gettysburg Address.  My students are young 6 and 7 years old, and I initially believed that this task was too advanced for them.  I decided to take on this challenge as a personal goal.  As I began the journey of memorizing and interpreting what this speech meant, I realized that it is a timeless piece that would benefit all citizens young and old.

I teach a first grade Spanish dual immersion strand at my school.  Each day I take a small portion of Lincoln’s speech and discuss the meaning with my students.  We then memorize a small portion.  We have about three fourths of the speech memorized.  I can’t express adequately the huge sense of pride I feel as I listen to these 44 students sincerely recite Abraham Lincoln’s words with expression that gives me hope that these citizens, as young as they may be, might truly comprehend the remarkable insight of this great and humble man. 

Abraham Lincoln recognized that our nation, in its infancy, was still very fragile.  No other country is based on such a unique idea as expressed in the Declaration of Independence: “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,”.  Our nation was formed on these principles and during the Revolutionary War we showed a dedicated effort to establish ourselves as such.   In this age people make choices as if our nation were invincible.  As a nation united we are powerful.  We are exemplars of freedom to the world and yet, we are still fragile.  If we do not respect the morals and principles that this nation was founded on, we too can succumb to tyranny.  We must keep it a government of the people, by the people, and for the people.   There is no position of leadership that is exempt of these principles.

In little less than 100 years after the signing of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution our country was tested in the most heart wrenching way.  We fought amongst our families, our neighbors, our fellow citizens; each side insisting that they were in the right.  Abraham Lincoln showed great insight into his insistence that the country remained unified.  In the Gettysburg Address he avoided words that would cause conflict.  Instead he used words that invite unity and elevated the nation’s sights to the future.  As we look at world history, and even to our present day, there are countries that have engaged in civil wars, many still ongoing.  These wars have left countries ravaged and citizens bitter and forever scarred. The threat of secession in our early history was a danger that could have left us vulnerable for other such rebellions.  I have no doubt that if those early 11 states were allowed to secede, our nation might have faced a similar fate.  Abraham Lincoln knew that if our nation was divided it would set a precedent, that groups unable to agree could simply pull away and form their own country leaving our once unified nation a tattered patchwork quilt of values and ideas.  We would have no future. 

President Lincoln showed the utmost respect to the soldiers that fought in the Civil War and specifically at Gettysburg.  He knew the best way to honor these soldiers was to renew the principles of the citizens of this great nation and to help them see how essential their role was in the transformation of the “new birth of freedom”.  The Gettysburg Address was Abraham Lincoln’s continual call to action for the inhabitants of his time and throughout the existence of our United States of America.  We too must hear the call.  We must ask ourselves, what is the unfinished work?  In what way can we pick up where those “who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced”?  The soldiers of Gettysburg were not fighting for the right to own slaves or not.  They were not fighting for victory.  They were fighting for the right to have their voice heard.  They were fighting for values that this nation was conceived from.  They were fighting for the future of the nation. 
The lessons that can be learned from this great test is that no group of people in America are more important that the ideals and values that this nation was founded on.  We were established on these principles and not those of the agenda of special interest groups.   If we are unhappy with the direction that our nation is going, we have the right and responsibility to be dedicated in our cause.  We must join together and be unified in purpose.  “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…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 this earth.” It is our right and responsibility to support the leaders who have our nation’s best interest in mind.  If we cannot support someone who is running in the political arena, local or national, we need to find someone we can support or step up ourselves.  Abraham Lincoln was a self-educated man.  He received no more than one year of formal education and yet he prepared himself to serve his country.  He saw a need and he filled it.  The ethics that he displayed are the ones we should encourage and instill in ourselves and our children.  He sought after education.  He was honest.  He led with integrity, dedicated to a cause that many did not understand. 
Abraham Lincoln had a vision for our country where, “all men are created equal.”  These equalities allow us certain freedoms.  These rights do not guarantee our success or happiness but they do promise the opportunity to seek it.  I hope that memorizing and discussing this speech will be a great influence on the lives of the students I teach.  They are the promise of the future and I want to make sure they have access to every opportunity for happiness and success.  By instilling in them these values mentioned hopefully they will rise to the call and be ”dedicated to the great task remaining before us”.  I am a wife, a mother, and a teacher.  I am like you.  I am a citizen of the United States of America.


Essay Contest Submission by Cevin Carr

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

By Cevin Carr

       It was a cold, windy November day, but Lisa Castro felt warm, huddled in her coat. She was one of five thousand who had braved the weather to attend the ceremony at Gettysburg National Military Park commemorating the 150th anniversary of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, last November 19th.  But Lisa was there for something more than to celebrate the famous speech: she was there to take the oath of allegiance, making her one of the newest citizens of the country whose destiny was shaped on the battlefield 150 years earlier. 

       In a very real sense, Lisa is symbolic of what the Gettysburg Address is all about. A native of Congo, the 37-year old mother joined 15 other immigrants who were sworn in by US Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia at the end of the ceremony. The sixteen were chosen as an extra tribute to the sixteenth president, who made it all possible. In all likelihood, if Lisa had come to the United States 150 years ago it would have been as a slave. Today she can enjoy the full blessings of liberty afforded by citizenship in this great country.  "This feeling of having the freedom and ability to accomplish anything we can in our lives, it's very exciting," Lisa said, glancing at her one-year old daughter asleep in the bassinet next to her. Lisa recognized the lesson that all of us Americans today can draw from the Gettysburg Address: the importance of freedom and equality.

       When the Civil War began, many claimed that the conflict was all about preserving the union by bringing the secessionist states back under the sovereign control of the nation. But really it was about freedom—freedom from slavery, that “peculiar institution” that had haunted our country from its inception.  Lincoln was referencing the Declaration of Independence when he open his speech “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.” All men are created equal. The primary author of the Declaration, Thomas Jefferson, and other founding fathers wished to abolish slavery with the birth this new nation, but they recognized that for this infant country to survive, political compromise was necessary. It would have to be left for another generation.  Lincoln believed the Civil War was a continuation of that process toward equality and freedom. How could there be true equality when the law allowed for possession of one man by another man, when a black man counted as only 3/5ths of a man in our republic? Through the Emancipation Proclamation and Union victory, Lincoln achieved equality under the law for over three million freed slaves in the United States.

       Have we achieved the equality of opportunity that freedom promised? No, not entirely, but the Civil War was an important first step—a “new birth of freedom.” A freedom that would continue to be nurtured by such great men as Martin Luther King, Jr., Medgar Evars, and others who “so nobly advanced” the “unfinished work” of those who gave their lives at Gettysburg, those who gave “the last full measure of devotion.”  And it is a work that must be carried on today. “It is for us the living . . .  to be . . . dedicated to the great task remaining before us.” To be dedicated to the cause of freedom and the promotion of equality.  We believe all men are created equal, but do we act to ensure that they are all treated equally? Are all citizens in our country allowed access to the “blessings of liberty” as promised in the Constitution? This is the cause to which we must remain dedicated today.  Are we acting to ensure that all children are given access to quality education? Are we acting to ensure that willing workers are given fair access to jobs?  Are we acting to ensure that all are given fair access to housing, food, and medical care? Are we tolerant of others’ opinions, beliefs, and lifestyles?  Remember that ours is a government “of the people, by the people, and for the people.” The government is here to serve us, and we are here to serve one other. The government and its people together—this was the vision of Abraham Lincoln.

       When Lisa Castro stood before Justice Scalia on November 19th, she joined immigrants from 13 countries in swearing their allegiance to the same country for which more than 40,000 soldiers died or were injured at Gettysburg.   These sixteen people joined the more than 300 million Americans today who believe in the promise of a country based on the precepts  of freedom and equality. It remains for all of us to dedicate ourselves to ensuring that the promised opportunities of freedom remain within Lisa’s grasp, and that those opportunities are even greater for her daughter Abigail and our children—that the “new birth of freedom” continues to grow “and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

Essay Contest Submission By Shelby Gabrielson - 3rd Grade

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

By Shelby Gabrielson - 3rd Grade

I believe that there are still lessons we can learn from the Gettysburg Address. These are the four lessons that I see in the Gettysburg Address.

Lesson #1 - “A new nation conceived in liberty”

The first lesson that I see in the Gettysburg Address is that a long time ago“our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty.” So say someone's running for president and said if I win the vote everyone will bow down to me, just like being king. That’s not the point at all. We came to America for freedom and liberty. We didn't come to America to be ruled by a king. Whenever I look at the American flag it reminds me of liberty and freedom. Whenever you look at the American flag what does it remind you of?

Lesson #2 - “Dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal”

The second lesson that I see in the Gettysburg address is that“our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation … dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.” So every American has the same chance of fulfilling the American dream. It doesn't mean we all have the same stuff. It just means we should all have the same chance of being what we want to be.

Lesson #3 - Remember “the brave men, living and dead, who struggled here”

The third lesson that I see in the Gettysburg address is to remember “The brave men living and dead, who struggled here.” The point is to remember those who died for us to give us freedom. If you don't remember those that died for you then what's the point at all if thousands of people sacrificed their lives for yours and you don't even thank them. So be grateful for what you have and what you receive.

Lesson #4 - “For us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us”

The forth lesson that I see in the Gettysburg address is to do our best to keep America free. Lincoln said “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.” They are dead but we are alive so we can do our best to keep our country free.

Now those are the lessons that I see in the Gettysburg Address. The Gettysburg Address was written 150 years ago but there are still things we can learn from it today.

Essay Contest Submission by Merry Duggin

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

By Merry Duggin

          In November 1963, in honor of the 100th anniversary of President Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, every student in Mr. Burden’s American history class in McAlester, Oklahoma, had the “honor” of entertaining their fellow students with their version of this historic speech.  Mr. Lincoln delivered his address in approximately two minutes, but our renditions ranged from 1 to 5 minutes depending on the personality and speaking experience of the orator. Did you ever hear an Oklahoma drawl?  Little did we note, nor long remember the speech. In fact, some may not have even understood it at the time.  To us “Four score and seven” could easily have been referring to a football term, for all we knew.  Only much later did we appreciate the words that we had memorized, and fast forward 50 years, our perspectives on their meaning have changed dramatically.
          I recently visited the Gettysburg battlefield and found a new appreciation for what had occurred there in 1863.  This battle, which was a crushing blow to the Confederacy,   has been considered a turning point in the War Between the States. The Confederates led by General Robert E. Lee withdrew on July 4, a significant day of freedom to all Americans.  The number of casualties on both the Union and Confederate sides was horrendous—51,000 killed, wounded, or missing.  The small town of Gettysburg was left to clear the battlefield and dispose of the dead.  Today the cemetery is beautiful, with shade trees and green grass all around, but in November 1863, the site was barren and scarred by war.  President Lincoln was not the only speaker, but it is his simple, but profound statements that have withstood the test of time.

          President Abraham Lincoln could not have known how his words would affect future generations, but his example of respect for those who were willing to go to war for a just cause echoes long past his lifetime.  In 1863, the United States was barely 87 years old and sorely tested by factions within the federal government which had deeply divided views of economic and social mores.  This young country, born in freedom and liberty, was so divided that some states felt they could not exist in the Union, and they drove the people to a civil war.  President Lincoln proved that a humble man with intelligence, humility, ambition, a high sense of honor, and a sense of humor could not only become this nation’s leader, but he could see it through a devastating war, leading it in a moral fight to rid the country “where all men are created equal” of slavery.  To protect, defend and save the Union was also very significant to him, and this speech is honoring those who gave their lives—the last full measure of devotion—for that cause. 

          Do we not ask our young people to step forward and risk their lives for our nation’s causes today?  Fortunately we have many who volunteer to do our nation’s work and protect the majority from harm.  We must remember that we stand on the shoulders of the sacrifices of our fathers and mothers and take heed that it is left to us to move our nation forward with “a new birth of freedom” for all.  We should value and honor military service and help our soldiers to do the duties that we ask of them.  We must come to their aid when they fall and carry them when they need help.  We must honor them in death and continue to recognize that some noble causes are worth that sacrifice.  We must not allow them to die in vain but continue to seek out the just and noble cause.

          We must not allow our nation to ever again be pressed by those who seek to divide the country over economic, social and moral issues.  There must be room to accommodate all of us by showing respect and equal freedom to those who have opinions that differ from others and by allowing each of us the opportunity to express those opinions without fear of reprisal or shame.  The pendulum of government will swing too far one way and then reverse itself when it becomes apparent that it has gone too far. We should expect that mistakes will be made, but it is a self correcting mechanism.

          We must strive to seek out Lincoln’s “unfinished work” to pursue.  The “government of the people, by the people, for the people” cannot sustain itself unless good men and women step forward (of the people), elected by the constituents of their districts (by the people), to do the work of the government (for the people).   In Lincoln’s day, only men could vote or be elected to office.  Today all Americans, both men and women, have the right, privilege and responsibility to participate in strengthening our Union in whatever capacity they should choose. We must reach out and be inclusive, encourage those among us who feel not included, to participate in the great experiment called the United States of America.

          After all, Lincoln would say that this nation is only fourscore and seven plus 151 years old. Under God.

Essay Contest Submission by Eric Patterson - 8th Grade

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

By Eric Patterson - 8th Grade

          On November 19, 1863, on the battlefield of Gettysburg, a very important man delivered a short speech. A long and bloody battle had just  taken place, and this man was dedicating the land as a resting place for all those whose lives had been taken in their brave work. This speech, which was soon recognized as the Gettysburg Address, was delivered by President Abraham Lincoln in the midst of the Civil War. There are many valuable lessons that Americans today can draw from the Gettysburg  Address.

          Those who were fighting at Gettysburg and in the Civil War were fighting for their liberty. President Lincoln stated that we should be "dedicated to the great task" of protecting the liberty of Americans. It is our duty as American citizens to ensure that the people of future generations have those liberties which they are entitled to. Many have died before us to protect our liberties, and we should do the same for our posterity. This message from the Gettysburg Address is very important to our lives.

          The government of the United States is of the people, by the people, and for the people. In his Address, President Lincoln stated that Americans are to ensure that such government "shall not perish from the earth. The men who fought at Gettysburg were fighting for this cause. Some people in the modern world try to bring the American type of government down. As the American people, we need to protect our government and country from these people, otherwise the efforts of our ancestors would be in vain.

          Bravery is knowing full well the dangers and problems with the road ahead, and still choosing to take it. It is being afraid and conquering that fear to pursue the final goal. The brave men of the Civil War exercised their bravery to a great extent, and we should not take such actions for granted. Calling forth bravery for a cause that may be defeated is a great act that has allowed us to live the way we do. We should be grateful for the bravery of our ancestors and all those who are protecting us today.

          Veterans and those in active service have always fulfilled to the greatest possible extent their duty to protect liberty and American life. These courageous men and women are the biggest reason we are still here today. As we go through our daily lives, we do things which seem normal, indeed, we may feel as though we don't have enough. We need to think differently, and remember our military forces that are battling everyday to keep our freedoms and extend them to as many as possible. We need to realize that we are very privileged and have great things.

          The battle of Gettysburg and the address delivered there may seem to have no application to our modern life. This is a false notion; the actions taken and words spoken there state some of our missions as American citizens. We need to protect our way of life, which includes liberty and government of the people. All Americans should thank those who are brave enough to fight for our rights and lives. If all people follow these lessons, this nation will prosper forever.      

Essay Contest Submission By Carson Guymon - 4th Grade

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

By Carson Guymon- 4th grade

Four score and seven years ago was the start of the address delivered at the dedication of the cemetery at Gettysburg by Abraham Lincoln on November 19, 1863.    This was one of the most important messages of all time.  It teaches us that “all men are created equal.”  It means that regardless of race, age, religion, or income, we should all be treated with respect.  It also teaches us that we can work together as a nation to achieve great things, and we can all improve ourselves.

Slaves were treated unfairly.  They were not given enough food and were beaten.  The Civil War was fought to help change this.  There are also unfair things that happen today.  There are students in my school that are not respectful of others.  I have seen bullies being mean by calling people names, not letting people join in, and tripping people.  I have been treated that way myself.  It makes me sad when this happens.  Bullies can make people hurt inside.  Abraham Lincoln was a bully-blocker.  He defended women and children from mean people.  We all need to be kind to others.  We can honor the soldiers who died fighting for freedom in battle by obeying the Golden Rule.  We should treat others the way we want to be treated. 

The Civil War could have been avoided if the North and South states would have come to an agreement about slavery before they started fighting.  We can all learn from history.  We can give and take, so there is a more peaceful ending.  I play on a 4th grade basketball team.  I have learned that in order to win a game, you have to play as a team.  When a player is selfish and hogs the ball, the whole team suffers.  This nation needs to work together and play as a team.  When one group is selfish, we all suffer.

Abe Lincoln inspired people to change for the better.  He was an honest man.  One time, Abe Lincoln was working at a country store.  There was a customer that paid him more than needed.  Abe closed the store and walked a long distance so he could repay the money.  Another time, Abe weighed out a package of tea for a customer.  Abe accidentally gave her less tea than she paid for.  Abe put the extra tea into a bag and took it to her, even though she didn't realize that she didn't get enough tea.  That is why he was called “Honest Abe”.  Telling the truth is a great lesson for everyone regardless of age. I want to follow Abraham Lincoln's example and always be honest.

We are so blessed to live in this wonderful country where we have freedom.  There are so many people that have died fighting for our freedom.  We can honor them by making our country better by each doing our part.  We can do better by treating others with kindness and respect, working together as a team, and being honest.

Essay Contest Submission By Abby Knudsen - 7th Grade

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

By Abby Knudsen - 7th grade

          Four score and seventy years ago Abraham Lincoln gave one of the most famous speeches in US history. There are many things we can learn from this speech: Lincoln’s humility, his view on the war, and some information about the Battle of Gettysburg.

We learn about Lincoln’s humility from the Gettysburg Address. He wasn’t speaking so everyone would think he was so intelligent and so great because he was president. He recognized that his speech was not as important as the soldiers that died and the battle that happened where he was speaking. He quotes, “But, in a larger sense, 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 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.” That shows how much Lincoln cared about the lives of the deceased soldiers.

          Lincoln was a humble man and that is an extremely important characteristic to have in a leader. Merriam-Webster dictionary defines humility as “The quality or state of not thinking you are better than other people”. If a leader doesn’t have humility they are full of conceit and pride. They will try to take and obtain more power and abuse it and that can result in a lot of bad things. So, in modern day we can learn that it is very important for our leaders to have humility.

          By reading the Gettysburg Address, you can also perceive Lincoln’s view of slavery. In the beginning he says that our forefathers came to America and they said that everyone was created equal. We can tell that Lincoln is against slavery because he says that everyone is created equal and slaves are not being treated equally.

          From the speech we can learn a few things about the Battle of Gettysburg. Lincoln says “We are met on a great battle-field of that war” From that small section, you can tell that Lincoln will probably be speaking about the battle. He also quotes “The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here” and from that you can tell that it was probably a bloody battle because he said that some of the soldiers died and that it must have been a tough battle because he said that the brave men struggled. Finally he says, “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” From this quote from the speech we can tell that they fought hard because he says they gave the last full measure of devotion and they have not died in vain.

          There are many things that we can learn and should remember from reading the Gettysburg address: Lincoln’s humility, his view on the war, and a few facts about the Battle of Gettysburg. I’m glad that we are able to look back in history and learn from Lincoln’s wise words.  

Essay Contest Submission by Kylie Guymon - 9th Grade

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

By Kylie Guymon- 9th Grade

One hundred and fifty one years ago Abraham Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address during the dedication of the Gettysburg cemetery.  That's where it got it's name. The cemetery was actually a portion of the battle-field dedicated to those that died.  They were memorializing all 51,000 people that died in the war over slavery.  I imagine it being such a powerful message that everyone in attendance would be in tears.  There are so many incredible lessons that we can learn from this address.

The first lesson is dedicated to the fact that all men are created equal. Last year in 8th grade history class we learned about the Gettysburg address and slavery. We did an activity to better understand what slavery was like.  My history teacher took us into the hall. We were ordered to crawl down the hallway, take off our shoes, do push-ups, and were not allowed to laugh or talk.  I remember my hands being examined to see if I was a hard worker; if my hands were rough or soft, or if I had nail polish on.  My teacher said “What is this on your nails? Is it some kind of fungus?” I tried not to look at him in fear of laughing and being punished to do extra push-ups. We also threw a blue tarp over our stacked  desks and crawled under it. It got really hot under the tarp with 30 students tightly packed under there. It represented the ship that slaves we carried on. The ship was so crowded that the slaves were stacked on top of each other and they had to lie in their own feces.   Food was thrown down to them from the deck above and the slaves on the bottom didn't get food. It was a horrific scene with filthy conditions and starving slaves.  This activity put into perspective what life for slaves was like. Everyone should be treated with respect and equality.

The second lesson I think Lincoln wants us to learn from the address is to become more united as a nation. The Civil War tested our nation to see if the citizens were dedicated in uniting together and enduring to the end.  How do we do that today? I think one way is becoming united through volunteer programs. I have been doing volunteer work at the food bank.  My first day of volunteer work, I was so surprised to see how many family's were struggling in the Heber valley. About 30 families come in each week to get canned food, diapers, baby formulas, and meat. There are also children's shoes, blankets, and jackets that have been donated that people can take home to their families.  The food bank helps to provide food for those that cannot provide for themselves such as those with little income, disabilities, or elderly people.  I am so glad there are programs like the food bank that can help those that are in need.   I think it is important we all do our part to help others and become more united.  I think the food bank is a really amazing program and I am glad that I can be apart of it.

The third lesson is endurance and perseverance.  To me endurance means going through something difficult and never giving up or backing down. The men that fought in the Civil War showed us a great example of endurance.  They fought for our freedom.  Many lost their friends and family, but they never gave up.  They will never be forgotten because now we are all free! My 74 year old grandmother and 77 year old grandfather are also a great example of endurance and perseverance.  My grandparents own a dairy farm.  They wake up at 3:00 AM every morning to herd the cows from the field into the barn.  Then it takes 4 hours to milk 75 cows.  No matter how dark, snowy, rainy, hot, or cold it is, my grandma is always at the barn by my grandpa's side.  They feed the calves buckets of milk often carrying four at a time.  After morning chores are done, my grandparents go back and do it again at 3:00 PM in the afternoon.  During the summer I often go help feed the calves and milk the cows. It really is a lot of work!  My grandparents have shown me great endurance and devotion, never missing a day.

Lincoln says “that the government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” The fourth lesson we can learn from the Gettysburg address is that our government is extremely important. The government helps keep peace and harmony throughout the land. If we didn't have a government structure, imagine what a chaotic world it would be.  Honest, fair, responsible government leaders are vastly significant.  I wonder how Lincoln would feel about our politicians today?  That is why it is so crucial that each person votes at election time.  Every vote counts!

The fifth lesson I have learned from the Gettysburg Address is the power of words.  Words can discourage people or build them up.  Words can be written down and documented. Words can form rules. They are how we communicate with other people.  We say the Pledge of Allegiance every day at school. Those words mean something.  Abraham Lincoln's 272 words will always be remembered.  He kept his message short and sweet, yet it made a powerful impact on our nation in the past, present, and future. 

In  conclusion, there are so many incredible lessons we can learn from this address.  We learn that all men are created equal, the importance of a united nation, endurance and perseverance, the importance of the government, and the power of words. As we follow these lessons, we can become a stronger nation as well as stronger individuals.