Friday, July 1, 2011

July 4th, 2011: The Task Before Us

July 4th, 2011:  On November 19th, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln attended the dedication of the Gettysburg National Cemetery.  As usual, the President economized his words, and the brevity of his address was only surpassed by his eloquence. According to our president, those whose souls had hallowed this ground had given their lives that the nation itself might live.  And he entreated the people to dedicate themselves to the great task before them, “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.” A government of, by, and for the people, united “under God”, that’s a compelling idea, a people unified by their faith, and their mutual pursuit of liberty and justice for all. That’s a proposition that a man could proudly die for. In March of 1865, following his re-election, a haggard and humble President Lincoln addressed a traumatized nation, staggering through the final stages of a horrific conflict. Visibly moved by the occasion, our war-weary President closed his Second Inaugural Address with the following sentiment: “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 born 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.” On this Independence Day, may we rededicate ourselves to this great task; may God assist us in our efforts, and may God Bless the United States of America.  STC

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