|From the Veterans of Gettysburg...|
"Gettysburg has many lessons--- that of national unity, that of economic
progress, that of eventual reconciliation. But perhaps the best lesson to learn from any
war is how it might have been avoided by a little more good-will, a little more
compromise, little more of a liberal attitude of the minds that see only in terms of
logical conclusions, the minds to which white is white and black is black, and there is no
gray. For us who have grown in wisdom with the years we can see that change is inevitable,
that there must also be continuity. We will never reach any point where our national life
can afford to remain static."
"Neither can there be any complete break with the past.
Between those who see only the need for change and those who resist change, I have come to
the conclusion that any nation will be torn asunder if they persist in fighting it out as
in the Civil War. At this last day we can see that Gettysburg is a good illustration of
irrepressible conflict which exist with those who do not have the patience and imagination
to progress thro' compromise."
The Gettysburg Address
Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this
continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedication 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 battle-field 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 nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that
we should do this.
But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate-we can not consecrate-we can not 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 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.
November 19, 1863.