Gettysburg

The Gettysburg address is perhaps one of the greatest speeches in our nation’s history. Perhaps this is because of the critical point that our nation had reached at the time that it was given. At that time we were split in our beliefs on a very divisive issue, fighting just to let our nation survive. Perhaps it was because of the content of the speech, its focus on the very principles which made our nation great. Perhaps it was because of the extremely patriotic nature in which it was given, full of American pride and devotion. Or perhaps it is the dedication to freedom and liberty and justice that is found in every word of this speech, the dedication that it inspires in all those privileged souls who are truly American. Whatever the reason, this piece is very much a part of this country’s story, and it deserves some special focus as we approach Independence Day. The following is my own thoughts on the Gettysburg address, sentence by sentence.

“Eighty- seven years ago, our ancestors founded this country on the principle of liberty and the declaration that all men were created to be equal, and have the same basic rights. This civil war has tested whether these ideas, and a nation which was based on these ideas, can survive for long. While meeting in the place where a significant battle in this war occurred, part of this battlefield is offered as a burial place for those who gave everything for their country and what our country was founded on. This is a very good thing to do, but merely words do not make this place special. The men who fought, and what happened in that great battle are what make Gettysburg special. Words cannot add importance to this place, because soon these words will no longer be remembered, but the events that transpired here, and the significance behind them, will never be forgotten. Our task as those who still live is to work for the cause that these men died to protect, to finish what they started. The best way to honor their sacrifice is to take in our hearts the principles and beliefs which were supremely important to these men, and dedicate ourselves to see the fulfillment of all they hoped to accomplish when they fought here; that all men may be granted their God-given rights in these United States of America, and that this unique country and its supporting idea of freedom for all men will not disappear so long as we are willing to defend them.”

The Gettysburg address mainly emphasizes the idea of freedom for all men which the USA was founded on, and though the Civil War has tested that principle, there were still men who were willing to fight and die to protect this foundation. Though the dedication of the battlefield was meant to honor them, the best way to honor these men is to never forget what they died for, and to give everything we have to further the cause of freedom.

When I read the Gettysburg address, I think of what it takes for this country to survive. This country will always be challenged, and our founding beliefs and principles will always be resented by some. We must remember the great men who fought and died for our country in the past, “that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion”. We must remember what they died for, and never forget the sacrifice that those men made so we could live in freedom. We must learn from their example, and always be willing to protect our country, and the principles of liberty which make this country great. The willingness of the American people to defend and fight for our freedom, along with the grace of God, is what has preserved this country, what will continue to preserve this country, and we must never take that for granted.
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