Tuesday, July 1, 2008

July 1, 1863

A reminder: Today is the 145th anniversary of one the United States' defining moments.

On July 1, 1863, two brigades from Confederate Gen. Henry Heth's division stumbled upon a brigade of dismounted Federal cavalry led by Gen. John Buford along the Chambersburg Pike at Gettysburg, PA. The following days of fighting was a turning point in this nation's history.

In November 1863, President Abraham Lincoln said this:

"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."

With U.S. men and women fighting two wars today, these words seem just as appropriate today as they did 145 years ago.

1 comment:

Infantry Dad said...

That is quite possibly the greates speech ever penned.
It would be a stretch to associate it with the present war we fight.
This is a bungled mess that was ill contrived from the very begining.
Yet I don't believe that any soldier who ever died in the line of duty did so in vaine.
regardless of whether battle is waged in defense of our country, or in assisting another to be free, our men are doing what they signed the contract for.
To do the bidding of the commander in chief.
Regardless of his purpose, or the cause.