From the Annals of the Civil War – In 1863, Pres. Abraham Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address at the dedication of a national cemetery for the soldiers who had fallen in the epic battle the previous July near the small Pennsylvania town. Barely two weeks before the dedication, Lincoln was asked to make some appropriate dedicatory remarks. His three minute address followed a two-hour stemwinder given by famed orator Edward Everett. Lincoln considered the address to be a failure, but it has become recognized as the most forceful and eloquent defense of the democratic ideals of our country ever spoken.
“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.”