"What lessons should Americans today draw from the Gettysburg Address?"
By Anonymous Author
The Gettysburg Address Brings To Mind The Value of Our Language And Our Responsibility To Help Protect This Nation From Harm
Lincoln’s pen and the words he spoke give us a renewed awareness and a feeling of appreciation for the innumerable words available to enable us to express ourselves and to communicate one with another; to be able to speak and hear and pen words that express deep appreciation, words that enable us to share our thought and convictions, that empower us to inspire, that supply us with the means to express our love and devotion – does not the Gettysburg Address stand as a witness of the beauty and power of words? The Address reflects the strength, force and might of the pen and of words fitly spoken. They reveal how much can be captured in a mere two hundred and seventy-two words, to be spoken in about two minutes. They enable one to behold the firmness and power that exists in the pure sounds, words, and combination of words that comprise the English language, wonderful words and sounds that can have a lasting effect upon the minds and hearts and freedoms of the children of men, young and old, bond and free, rich and poor. We are reminded that we need not multiply words; that there is strength in simplicity; and that there is power in that which is clear and concise when it comes from the hearts and souls of the good men and women of this nation, or any nation.
In the few words, spoken at a historic moment in time, our President Abraham Lincoln, like Horton, who stayed the course and hatched the very egg that had been entrusted unto him, “said what he meant and meant what he said.” And if we had been there, and carefully listened, we would have sensed how strongly Lincoln felt and how deeply he believed in the cause and importance of preserving the union, and its phrases “E Pluribus Unum” and “In God We Trust,” and how keenly the young nation of only fourscore and seven years needed to receive a new birth of freedom – and as we now carefully read his words and stay informed, we will sense that we have our own unfinished work to do and great tasks remaining before us with respect to liberty and equality of opportunity.
What can we learn from this amazing cluster of vowels and consonants beautifully assembled to express a body of ideas so pertinent to a given time and place in history? Words and feelings that perhaps should be committed to memory, so as to be found deep down in the remote recesses of our mind and into the “round-tower of our heart.” Precious, profound thoughts that need every once in awhile to find their way onto the surface of our conscious mind to help keep us in remembrance that we should “love our land for what she is and what she is to be;” that we are to be no respecter of persons; that we all are created equal and have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness; and that this nation of ours was “conceived in liberty,” and is still to be devoted to, and used to preserve the freedoms of the law-abiding in their pursuit of the good things of life and the happiness that accompanies such. The words of the Gettysburg Address, if they become a part of us, will also keep us in remembrance of the struggles and sacrifices of those who have gone before us and who gave a portion of their lives to help preserve and protect the great principles that our founding fathers, and the author of the Gettysburg Address, and so many others believed in, and so nobly advanced and struggled to maintain.
His words of one-hundred and fifty years ago, have the power to keep us mindful that we the living, here and now, need to highly resolved that this nation, under God, should not perish from the earth, but should somewhere down the road provide our children and grandchildren with new births of freedom, freedom from their present bondage and the burden of excessive debt – a freedom that can be brought to pass through our individual and collective wisdom, restraint, industry, resourcefulness and self-reliance; yes, by embracing and having a love for that great benefactor, honest labor, work well done, and, also, last but not least, from our “just in the doing, and doing as we would be done by, is all.”
Again, perhaps we should undertake to commit to memory The Great Emancipator’s profound, and somewhat pleading words, uttered November 19, 1863, thus keeping ourselves in remembrance of things so conceived and so dedicated and of those other truths that have in many ways and various forms been placed before “every age and race,” – those everlasting principles described by Rudyard Kipling in his great poem “The Gods of the Copybook Headings!” – and then make up our minds to be engaged in small, but ongoing ways to help preserve Our Land and make the Future free!
To the reader, “What will be your small in size but meaningful contributions to help protect from harm that with which we have been entrusted?”