Today, 160 years ago, in 1863, President Abraham Lincoln delivered his two minute, ten sentence famous Gettysburg Address, arguably one of the greatest Presidential speeches in American history, despite its brevity.
Honoring the dead of both the Union side and Confederate side in the third year of the Civil War, the brief statement was panned at the time, but over the years came to be regarded as a brilliant, statesmanlike speech.
It has been glorified ever since as a sign of reconciliation, and recognition of the tragedy of the great loss of life in the Battle of Gettysburg in Pennsylvania on July 1, 2, and 3, 1863.
It added greatly to the historic stature of Abraham Lincoln, and a model for statesmanship!
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!