Ngebray.com,- On November 19, 1863, an audience of approximately 15.000 people gathered at the little Pennsylvania town of Gettysburg to commemorate a cemetery for Civil War soldiers. The featured speaker for the ceremony was a popular orator named Edward Everett, whose long-winded presentation –filled with literally allusions, flowery verbiage, and frequent parenthetical departures-lasted for two long hours. When it was finally over, President Lincoln got up from 268 words, his speech took just over two minutes to deliver. Newspapers covering the ceremonies that day took little notice of it, and even the President thought he had made a poor showing. Today, the Gettysburg Address is considered one of the greatest American speeches of all time.
“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 battlefield 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 this nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate… we cannot consecrate… we cannot 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.”
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