style="margin-top:40px; BROADSIDES

May 28, 2007

Memorial Day, 2007
Shortly after the Battle of Gettysburg in the summer of 1863, the governor of Pennsylvania appointed Judge David Willis to organize efforts to clear the battlefield and bury the dead.

As the many burials neared completion in September, Judge Willis prepared for the cemetery's dedication ceremony scheduled for November. Given the massive scale of destruction wrought at Gettysburg (over 51,000 killed or injured in three days) and the herculean effort to inter the dead in a timely fashion, the judge felt that the ceremony should be commensurate. He decided that on November 19, the new cemetery at Gettysburg would be consecrated with an elaborate speech delivered by America's most renowned orator -- Edward Everett.

Over the next six weeks, Everett set about composing one of his trademark two-hour speeches. As public orations were the rock concerts of the day, people would no doubt flock to Gettysburg to listen to the eloquence of the most famous orator of all.

Only 17 days before the big event, Judge Willis may have thought it was a bit tacky not to invite the president of the United States to attend the ceremony and, if he chose, to briefly address the crowd after Everett's performance. In his November 2 invitation to Lincoln, the judge wrote:

These Grounds will be Consecrated and set apart to this Sacred purpose, by appropriate Ceremonies, on Thursday, the 19th instant. Hon Edward Everett will deliver the Oration.

I am authorized by the Governors of the different States to invite you to be present, and participate in these Ceremonies, which will doubtless be very imposing and solemnly impressive.

It is the desire that, after the Oration, you, as Chief Executive of the Nation, formally set apart these grounds to their Sacred use by a few appropriate remarks.

Translation: "If you're going to speak, Mr. President, keep it short."

It's doubtful Lincoln viewed this last-minute invitation as a slight because he accepted it.

On November 19, over 15,000 people assembled at Gettysburg to hear Edward Everett's grand oration; he didn't disappoint. Everett's two-hour performance left the audience mesmerized. Lincoln then rose to deliver his speech. Consisting of just three paragraphs, the president's "remarks" were "few" indeed. When he finished, the audience gave little, if any, response.

Legend has it that the president regarded the crowd's silence as an indication that his speech flopped. I doubt that. Lincoln was a shrewd political operative and was no stranger to the soapbox. I suspect that he knew Everett would drone on for an hour or two, and that his speech would, by its brevity, stand in stark contrast and command much more attention. So, most likely, the audience's muted reaction was really stunned silence. And in days after the dedication ceremony, Lincoln wrote several copies of what would become known to history as The Gettysburg Address; if the president truly believed his speech was a failure, he would not have taken the time and effort to make handwritten copies for posterity.

In his speech that day, Lincoln not only pays tribute to those Americans who lost their lives defending their fellow citizens' liberty, he also charges us -- the citizens who survive -- to honor our war dead by pressing on to victory in the cause for which they died. The genius of Lincoln's Gettysburg Address is that its message transcends time.

On this Memorial Day, as the United States fights another protracted war to preserve freedom, Abraham Lincoln speaks to us again and his "few appropriate remarks" of 144 years ago ring anew:

. . . 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.

  • B. Sides @ 7:33 AM
  • Thousands of Deadly Islamic Terror Attacks Since 9/11


    SFC Paul R. Smith MoH Tribute
    CPL Jason L. Dunham MoH Tribute
    LT Michael P. Murphy MoH Tribute
    MA2 Michael Monsoor MoH Tribute
    MSG Woodrow W. Keeble MoH Tribute
    PFC Ross McGinnis MoH Tribute
    Coalition to Salute America's Heroes
    Statues of Servicemen Fund
    VFW Military Assistance Program
    Fisher House
    Wounded Warrior Project
    Freedom Alliance Scholarship Fund
    Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund
    Adopt A Platoon
    Marines-Law Enforcement Foundation
    Special Ops Warrior Foundation
    America's Heroes of Freedom
    Adopt A Sniper
    Operation USO Care Package
    Operation Military Pride
    Books For Soldiers
    Freedom's Angels
    Vets For Freedom
    Gathering of Eagles
    Faces of the Fallen

    James Lileks
    Leaning Towards The Dark Side
    Michael Yon
    Taco's SandGram
    Ranger Up
    One Marine's View
    Michelle Malkin
    Bob Parks
    Jackie Mason
    Ron Silver
    Sgt. Stryker
    Tim Blair
    Jeff Jarvis
    Internet Haganah
    Little Green Footballs
    Rightwing Sparkle
    Power Line
    Virginia Postrel
    Kyle Smith

    Tech Central Station
    Drudge Report
    World Tribune
    Free Republic
    Global Security
    Society for Internet Research
    Terrorism Knowledge Base

    G. Gordon Liddy
    Bill Cunningham
    Quinn & Rose
    Laura Ingraham
    Mark Levin
    Rush Limbaugh
    Dennis Miller

    New York Post
    Washington Times
    Opinion Journal
    Washington Post
    The American Spectator
    London Telegraph
    Financial Times
    Times of London
    Jane's Defense

    Milton Friedman
    Thomas Sowell
    Claudia Rosett
    Victor Davis Hanson
    Mark Levin
    Larry Elder
    Mark Steyn
    Pete du Pont
    Charles Krauthammer
    Walter Williams
    David Horowitz
    Ann Coulter
    R. Emmett Tyrrell
    Michael Ledeen
    Larry Kudlow

    Reagan Presidential Library
    Landmark Legal Foundation
    Hoover Institution
    Protest Warrior
    Cato Institute
    National Center for Policy Analysis
    National Taxpayers Union
    American Enterprise Institute
    Americans Against Hate
    National Rifle Association
    National Right to Work Committee
    Reason Foundation

    Declaration of Independence
    The Constitution
    The President
    U.S. Judiciary
    Department of Defense
    U.S. Central Command
    National Archives
    Library of Congress
    CIA World Factbook

    Institute of Official Cheer
    The Simpsons
    Callahan Online
    Tucker Max
    The Onion
    Day by Day
    The New York Times

    June 2002
    July 2002
    August 2002
    September 2002
    October 2002
    November 2002
    December 2002
    January 2003
    February 2003
    March 2003
    April 2003
    May 2003
    June 2003
    July 2003
    August 2003
    September 2003
    October 2003
    November 2003
    December 2003
    January 2004
    February 2004
    March 2004
    April 2004
    May 2004
    June 2004
    July 2004
    August 2004
    September 2004
    October 2004
    November 2004
    December 2004
    January 2005
    February 2005
    March 2005
    April 2005
    May 2005
    June 2005
    July 2005
    August 2005
    September 2005
    October 2005
    November 2005
    December 2005
    January 2006
    February 2006
    March 2006
    May 2006
    June 2006
    July 2006
    September 2006
    October 2006
    November 2006
    December 2006
    January 2007
    February 2007
    March 2007
    April 2007
    May 2007
    June 2007
    July 2007
    September 2007
    October 2007
    November 2007
    December 2007
    January 2008
    February 2008
    May 2008
    June 2008
    July 2008
    September 2008
    November 2008
    December 2008

    design by maystar
    template via blogskins
    powered by blogger

    Powered by Blogger