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Abraham Lincoln’s Birthday

February 12, 2013

Happy Birthday, Mr. Lincoln, on what would be his 204th Birthday.  Abe Lincoln gave his Gettysburg Address 150 years ago and every word is still as relevant today as it was when he first said them.


Lincoln was a last minute addition to the program at the battlefield where the principal speaker was the great orator Edward Everett who spoke for two hours… while Lincoln spoke just 270 words in a couple of minutes.  In honor of Lincoln’s birthday, his words are shown here.  Please read this to someone younger than age 25 who I fear may not know who wrote the Gettysburg Address.

Gettysburg Address
November 18, 1863
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 battlefield 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 cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot 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.
5 Comments leave one →
  1. Ray Russolillo permalink
    February 12, 2013 1:31 pm

    Ed, you and I are both fans of the great man, Abraham Lincoln. Can you imagine him today, in the age of the Internet? The Gettysburg Address would have been a great blog post at 270 words! I bet Honest Abe could even master Twitter and beguile us with the 140 character limit!

  2. Robert Nagler permalink
    February 12, 2013 4:06 pm

    I think lincoln speak was great and will live through time.

  3. February 12, 2013 5:26 pm

    Thanks Ray for the copmment.
    An interesting book is Lincoln the Lawyer about his practicing as an attorney, getting started in business and developing his practice. His law lecture on setting fees is also a great read (it can be Googled). He was a great writer – knew his audience and wrote for them – communicated so he got his point adopted – and would be a great blogger today. My opening mantra for the blogs is that my goal was to not make them longer than the Gettysburg Address – and I write with that in mind – although I’ve had (and you too) so pretty long ones.

  4. February 12, 2013 8:45 pm

    It’s amazing how little space the printed form of that speech takes, yet it’s so powerful.

    In 4th grade I was called upon to dress up as Abe Lincoln and recite the Gettysburg Address in its entirety during a school play put on by my one-room school. (Yes, I really did attend a one-room school in Vermont.)

    While I’m no longer put off in the least by public-speaking, reciting the Address from memory as a 9-year-old was- and remains- one of my proudest accomplishments.

    Thanks for the post, Ed.

  5. February 14, 2013 3:31 am

    Drew, you come from a state closely aligned with Lincoln’s son. I visited Hildene in Manchester and spent a few hours there. This was the home of Robert Todd Lincoln, Lincoln’s only surviving son. I recommend a trip there to anyone traveling through Vermont. Also Ben & Jerry’s!
    I also had a very moving visit to Gettysburg Battlefield. There is ceratinly a lot to learn. I though the recent movie, Lincoln, showed a great portrayal of our 16th President.
    I think it sad that most people under age 20 that I ask, do not know that Lincoln wrote the Gettysburg Address. And many under 25. Try it out – this is a defect in our educational system.

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