May 30th, 2005

Tip of the Hat

(no subject)

Like most things lately, Memorial Day snuck up on me and caught me by surprise. A day to honor our war dead. I didn't attend my town's celebrations, however I did have a private moment while the gun salute was being fired and the echo of it marched through the town.

I was also a little annoyed last night. I was listening to the radio while doing my tasks at my folks house last night. The topic was asking if Memorial Day has lost its meaning and would the proposed law to bring it back to May 30 rather than the last Monday of May be a way to help. During this discussion, a neighbor was setting off fireworks for his kids. All I could think was that Memorial day is *not* the 4th of July.

Anyway, I was trying to figure out what to put here. A speech made on November 19th, 1863, dedicating a Civil War cemetery in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, seems more appropriate to me than fireworks. So here are the words of the 16th president of the United States:

"Fourscore 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 battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of it as a final resting place for those who died here that the nation might live. This we may, in all propriety do. 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 hallowed 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 rather for us the living, we here be dedicated to the great task remaining before us--that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they here gave the last full measure of devotion--that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain, that this nation 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."