150 years ago on November 19, President Abraham Lincoln gave a speech to commemorate the loss of life at the Battle of Gettysburg in Pennsylvania, which occurred on July 1, 2, and 3, 1863.
Although only a two minute speech, it is regarded as possibly the greatest speech ever made by an American President, although not regarded as such at the time.
Lincoln was one of the greatest orators of our history, memorable for his Second Inaugural Address on March 4, 1865 and for other speeches and declarations, both in the White House years and in his earlier career as a Congressman from Illinois, and a Senate candidacy against Senator Stephen Douglas.
The Battle of Gettysburg, and the tremendous loss of life, remains a center of fascination to historians and tourists alike, and the short statement of Lincoln honoring the dead remains a classic of Presidential oratory that will reverberate through all of time!
A century and a half ago, on July 1, 2, and 3, 1863, the greatest battle of the Civil War occurred in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, the furthest north the Confederate armies of the South ever managed to reach during the war!
About 50,000 casualties occurred in those three days, and only on July 3 was it clear that the Union Army had triumphed, but at great cost!
This author has visited the Gettysburg historic site with his older son, and we were both sobered by the reality of that battle, and the amount of blood that was shed, and the ghosts that many claim still haunt the battlefield and the homes nearby that date back to that time period.
President Abraham Lincoln commemorated the loss of life in November of that year, and the commitment to human freedom, that those who fought on the Union side died for, while acknowledging the bravery and commitment of the Confederate soldiers who died in that sleepy Pennsylvania town 150 years ago!
This is a time to commemorate those who died and were wounded, and keep the commitment to human freedom and legal equality that is always under challenge in the modern world, both outside our nation, but sadly also still being an issue that divides Americans, and even the Supreme Court!