Whenever our great country seems in a moment of crisis, I like to reread a short speech by Abraham Lincoln. Each crisis feels like our country is struggling once again with equality, or worried about our freedom, or fretting about our nation’s economic future, or all three put together.
Given today’s multiple crises – the coronavirus, Black Lives Matter, the economic depression – I thought President Lincoln’s speech at Gettysburg would be a good reminder that ours is still an unfinished task, but America should have faith in our future.
“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.”
Lincoln’s timeless words resonate with me as I think about today’s multiple crises. I believe each of us won life’s lottery by either being born in this country or having the opportunity to move here. Despite our stumbling during the current crises, I remain proud to be an American.
What do you think? Share your thoughts.
David Dunn-Rankin is CEO of D-R Media, which owns the Highlands News-Sun and the Highlands Sun, as well as newspapers in Lake, Polk and Sumter counties. He can be reached at David@D-R.Media.