Saturday, May 30, 2009

"The last full measure of devotion"

On Memorial Day, it is a TommyWonk tradition to ponder the words of the Gettysburg Address. Here is the infamous Powerpoint version, a lesson in how to take a powerful message and reduce it to mush.
And here is the text of the Bliss Version (with links to readings by Sam Waterston, Jeff Daniels and Johnny Cash):
Fourscore 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.
The Lincoln Memorial is being rededicated today, in this the bicentennial of his birth, and four score and seven years since it was first dedicated on May 30, 1922.
Wilmington’s Memorial Day parade, which is always held on May 30, begins at six o’clock this evening, starting near Rockford Park and marching down Delaware Avenue to the Soldiers & Sailors Monument at Broom Street.


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