The ‘Gettysburg Address’ is remembered today on the anniversary of such speech made by President Abraham Lincoln. Today marks the 150th anniversary of this most famous of speeches, made by our 16th president of the United States of America. Abraham Lincoln lived from 1809-1865.
Five known copies exist in Lincoln’s handwriting with each being a bit different. All five of these were seen on display in Chicago at one point. The famous speech was given November 19th, 1863.
Everyone – who has been schooled in the United States – knows these lines: ‘Four score and seven years ago our father’s brought forth …’ from the beginning and of course the ending, ‘That government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth’.
Lincoln visited the battlefield and dedicated a cemetery for the dead. They honored these Civil War fatalities in his descriptive ‘Gettysburg Address’ as fitting that we should do so. The funeral that day for 3,000 lives lost in the battle was commemorated by the town and the president in a solemn and loyal event. Lincoln had composed some words at the White House and finished them by the time he’d given that famous speech. Between the two he visited, the battlefield and his vision became enlightened and focused on a key word.
What the men did here became his importance and he added the words ‘under God’ which were not part of the original written text. It is so noted that because he stated those words, they exist in our pledge of allegiance today. He had not written those words out but because of the depth of what he saw and felt, he said them. He alluded to his highest ideal or power, something greater than himself, something that gave credence to freedom, more powerful than himself, his creator.
The speech brought those gathered for ceremonial displays and traditions to tears.
John Carroll University has received Abraham Lincoln items. One such item was a signature, documented upon papers, granting permission for ships participating in whaling to go overseas and dock. This letter was produced in French, Spanish, English and Dutch and gave a certain protection when in foreign waters. Mr. Robert Heltzel Jr., owner of Kenilworth Steel, now retired and president donated these items to the university. Heltzel is a graduate of John Carroll and has quietly given items from his collection of Civil War memorabilia. The portrait of Lincoln, largely referred to as the ‘Gettysburg Address Portrait’ as it dates November 8th, 1863, is one such item.
Great speeches and great presidents, Lincoln and Kennedy, are often remembered for the eloquence of such. Lincoln in his speech to lay to rest the thousands from the Civil War battle had to honor the dead, give comfort to the grieving, and inspire the nation with words of a rebirth for freedom. Today the Gettysburg Address is remembered, for after the Civil War ended slavery, the beginning of freedom for people of color was to occur in this land, called America. Dr. King would later emphasize this dream in his famous speech. Both presidents and Dr. King were later shot and murdered for their love of democracy and views. These speeches invoked with their words not just to unite people, but to bring together the people’s emotional heart in this land called America.
Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president of the United States in essence abolished slavery by winning the civil war and became the 1st Republican President of the United States. How many people know this fact? When students were questioned recently at a university, many did not realize he was not a Democrat. This would probably surprise many folks as we seem to be so divided on issues today. The Gettysburg Address is remembered and should remind everyone where this freedom began and what the people ‘did’ to have that freedom.
Editorial by Kim Troike