Monday, November 19, 2012

...we can not hallow this ground.

On the days of July 1st, July 2nd and July 3rd, of 1863, the Northern's Army of the Potomac lead by General George Meade would engage the Confederate's Army of Northern Virginia led by General Robert E. Lee at the small town of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.

Mead would defeat Lee to halt the advance of the Confederate Army into the North but the cost in human life was staggering. In one of the bloodiest battles in United States history, over 50,000 soldiers were killed or wounded in the three days of fighting and names like Little Round Top, Devil's Den, and Pickett's Charge would be chiseled into the history books as the specific locations where so many lost their lives.

While we recently celebrated Veterans Day to honor those who have served, and the many who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our country - that day was perhaps first celebrated in 1863.


On this day in 1863, President Abraham Lincoln would deliver what was to become known as the Gettysburg Address at the dedication of the Soldier's National Cemetery at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.  Written on the train on the way to the cemetery, Lincoln would define our country's belief's, the great cost of defending those beliefs and the long road that lay ahead - all in a speech that would last two minutes.

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation, so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate, we can not consecrate, we can not hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

The Historical Inebriant: 

Drink what you feel honors those who served, and the writer of those words, but:
It should be strong - to burn our lips and tongues to remind us of the pain of war,
and it should be bitter, very bitter - to remind us of it's taste. 

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