Since I stated in my last post that my favorite speech is Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, I thought I'd post a little about it as well. I was stationed for 3 years in Washington DC while I was in the Army. The first time I ever read the Gettysburg Address was one perfect afternoon after running from Arlington Cemetery to the Lincoln Memorial by myself. I did this often. It was a short, but beautiful run and I always enjoyed the end of the run - pushing myself hard up the steps to the Lincoln Memorial (kind of a Rocky moment). Anyway, on the south wall of the interior of the memorial (to President Lincoln's left), is engraved in large letters the Gettysburg Address. I stood there on this day and read it and had to fight back tears.

I've visited the Gettysburg battlefield 4 or 5 times as well. It's one of my favorite American locations. History records that on November 19, 1863 (coincidentally 100 years before Dr. King's speech in 1963) as they were dedicating the Gettysburg Cemetery, before Lincoln spoke, Edward Everett gave a speech that was two hours long with 13,607 words. You have to search pretty hard to find that speech. After its conclusion Lincoln stood up and delivered his speech which consisted of only 10 sentences and 272 words. The New York Times reported that Lincoln's Gettysburg Address was interrupted 5 times by applause and followed by a "long, continued applause". The following is the Gettysburg Address in its entirety along with the only known photo taken of Lincoln delivering the speech.

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

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.

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