Friday, May 26, 2017

A Few Appropriate Remarks

In anticipation of Memorial Day, I am focusing on the words of Abraham Lincoln at Gettysburg. This is from May 27, 2013.
Today Is Memorial Day, a day set apart in the United States to pay honor to those who died serving their country in the various branches of the military. It's original name was Decoration Day, a time to honor soldiers of both sides who were killed during the Civil War, or the War Between The States, whichever title you prefer. My favorite part of this Monday, outside of a terrific cookout at the home of Greg and Loa Glenn, has been the countless FACEBOOK postings of pictures of relatives who served in the armed services, most of them in black-and-white. My Grandpa Hawley was a soldier in the US Army during World War I and my nephew, Seth, is still enlisted after tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan. I salute these Hawley men who faithfully protected our nation, as well as all the other men and women in uniform who did as well.

Many of you know that before I was a Bible teacher, I taught social science classes, mainly American History. My students did a great deal of memorizing in those days: In Flanders Fields, the Preamble to the Constitution, the second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence, the poem The New Colossus from the Statue of Liberty, etc. My favorite passage though was the Gettysburg Address, of which we learned the first half. In November of 1863, President Abraham Lincoln had been asked to deliver a few appropriate remarks at the dedication of the Soldiers' National Cemetery in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Less than five months previous, the Battle of Gettysburg had left more than 46,000 combined killed/wounded/missing from the two armies. The featured speaker that day was famed orator Edward Everett who talked for two hours. President Lincoln followed with thoughts totaling only two minutes, thoughts which he at the time considered a failure. Below, I've posted a clip from Ken Burns miniseries on The Civil War which last about five minutes. It is a synopsis of that day, including Lincoln's remarks. In sharp contrast to the rhetoric we hear from both political parties today, Lincoln's words were gracious, prophetic, and in tune with the spirit which has sustained our nation. Remarkably, Lincoln wrote his own address with no speech writers or polling groups to help him come up with quotable sound bites or catchy phrases. He simply and carefully spoke from the heart. We were blessed to have one Abraham Lincoln in our past. We desperately need another.

To watch the short clip from The Civil War by Ken Burns, click or copy/paste the link below:

Applicable quote of the day:
"The world will little note nor long remember what we say here but it can never forget what they did here."
Abraham Lincoln  Gettysburg, Pennsylvania  November 19, 1863

God bless,
Luke 18:1
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