We must dedicate our efforts to the fulfillment of a dream
On the afternoon of Thursday, November 19, 1863, during the American Civil
War, four and a half months after the Union armies defeated those of the
Confederacy at the decisive Battle of Gettysburg, president Abraham Lincoln
delivered a speech at the Soldiers' National Cemetery in Gettysburg,
Pennsylvania. Lincoln's carefully crafted address has come to be regarded as
one of the greatest speeches in American history.
In just over two minutes, Lincoln invoked the principles of human equality
espoused by the Declaration of Independence and redefined the Civil War as a
struggle, not merely for the Union, but as "a new birth of freedom" that
would bring true equality to all of its citizens, and that would also create
a unified nation.
I believe the greatest part of the Gettysburg address is that part where
Lincoln talked about the American service members who fought and others who
gave their lives in defense of freedom.
"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."
And so it has been since the time of Lincoln's address until the modern era
that American Veterans have fought and died for the freedom and liberties we
hold so dear - in the Spanish American War, World War I, World War II,
Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Bosnia, Afghanistan and many conflicts around the
The most important thing we can learn from the sacrifices of our Veterans is
to remember another paragraph in Lincoln's address: "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."
Lincoln was referring to the fact that we must come together as a nation,
settle our differences, embrace our future and build upon the sacrifices our
Veterans have made.
These are not mere words to inspire a nation into recovery from the wounds
inflicted in a deadly Civil War, they are prophetic words by which American
Veterans live and die each day.
Without the citizen willing to put on the uniform of the Armed Forces and
dedicating their lives and liberties towards the great task of securing
the freedom of the American people, this nation would not have endured and
become a shining beacon of hope to the rest of the world. And, that beacon still shines
my friends, despite the petty political turmoil going on today. America has and will endure.
American Veterans have answered the call to duty and to the fulfillment of
Lincoln's vision in this his final part of the address: "It is rather for us
to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us honored dead we
take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure
of devotion that these dead shall not have died in vain and that a new birth of freedom for the people,
shall not perish from the earth."
Please pay tribute to those who gave their last full
measure of devotion to this nation and give honor to those who have
sacrificed to defend our nation, our liberties and our way of live.
'HAVE YOU HUGGED A VETERAN LATELY?"