WHAT IS MEMORIAL DAY?

In what follows, Delegate Scott Lingamfelter introduces the Gettysburg Address.

Perfect Words, Sustained Trust

Frequently you’ll hear people in the news say “Well Memorial Day is the unofficial start of summer”. Maybe. But for me it strikes a bit closer. For me, and many of you, it is a time of reflection for those who have given-as Abraham Lincoln said in his Gettysburg Address-“the last full measure of devotion”.

I could wax on about this. But why try to improve on what is perfect. Read President Lincoln’s words yourself and think about the moms and dads, sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, grandparents and other loved ones who will have an empty place at their table from this point forward. Let these words sink in. Let them nourish your sense of freedom and the sacrifice that comes with that liberty.

Four score 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 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 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, 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.

We must never forget those who have given their all, less we will have broken a trust that is so fundamental to a free society that we will no longer be worthy to be called a great land and a noble people.

God Bless America.

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