Thursday, February 12, 2009

Happy 200th Birthday, President Lincoln

Today's forecast for St. Peters, MO: Mostly sunny, high 51 degrees, but it's chilly outside this morning.

Happy Birthday, President Abraham Lincoln!
Today marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of Abraham Lincoln, our nation's 16th, and probably most revered president. Lincoln wasn't only a courageous wartime president, he also was a gifted orator and writer. Two of his most eloquent and frequenly quoted speeches are his Second Inaugural Address in 1865 and his speech at the Battle of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, in 1863.

I am moved whenever I read these two historical documents, especially the last paragraph of his second inaugural speech and the entire Gettysburg Address. The writing is clear and crisp, and the cadence and word choices are brilliant.

In honor of his 200th birthday I'm posting the last paragraph of President Lincoln's second inaugural speech:

"With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations."

And the entire text of President Lincoln's Gettysburg Address:

"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."
For more information about Licnoln's bicentennial celebration, visit http://www.lincolnbicentennial.gov/ but be patient. Because of the interest, it takes quite some time to access.

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