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Monday, February 12, 2007

Happy birthday

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 that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

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.

Comments (13)

My daughter is taking sign language - her teacher pointed out that if you close in on Abe's hands, one hand is making the sign for the letter A the other making the sign for the letter L.

thank goodness they didn't have powerpoints in 1863...

Last summer I met a hard-nosed journalist who was born and raised on a farm in Gettysburg, PA. Over too many beers, we got sloshy and she revealed that Gettysburg is haunted. She talked about how many men and women were killed there---God it was in the tens of thousands, on the level of the Iraq war (Gettysburg: 45-50,000 dead), except in a place and a region with hardly the population of the modern era. A tiny community that absorbed all the savagery that humans can unleash mano-a-mano. Literally.

This cool woman (supposed to be a tough, objective journalist) was horrified the next day that she'd shared her innermost feelings about what happens in places where so much blood is shed --- the river through Gettysburg famously ran red with the blood of people killed there. My friend said there are still loads of remains in the ground where the soldiers fell -- it was impossible to clean up the battlefield and her own farming ancestors dredged up human bones for more than a hundred years when they plowed their hay fields.

Somehow when I read Abe's speech I get the sense that it's all been sanitized for the modern age. And the real horror of what he was talking about plays out over and over again -- now in Iraq.

Riverbend, the Girl Blogger From Iraq has written that many families in Baghdad where she lives have been burying their family members in their own gardens rather than take the chance at being killed on the way to the morgue -- which the NYT reports is actually staked out by homicidal maniacs who literally finish off the families who go there to claim their already-dead. (Riverbend also thinks the Lancet death toll is low---that's upwards of 600,000 dead including military AND civilian casualties).

It's like Gettysburg is something else we've globalized........

My God, the gap between the lions of yore and the putty-tats of today has never seemed so great . . .

Today's Party of Lincoln would be wholly unrecognizable to the man himself. But that's not going to stop Rove and others from keynoting a bunch of Lincoln Day gatherings today.

... the gap between the lions of yore and the putty-tats of today has never seemed so great

And from a man who essentially received no formal education.

Re Powerpoint, I hate to break it to you, but...

Researchers have discovered Lincoln's missing Powerpoint presentation for Gettysburg. Here it is!


Bush found it, while passed out, under the bed, in the Lincoln Bedroom, looking for WMD -- W's Missing Diapers!

Sorry, Mr. BoJack. You beat me to the punch.

By 2 minutes.

You're wrong Lisa, we didn't gobalize it. The Iranians, Syrians, and other Islamic fascists did.

You make it sound as if we are at fault here. You ignore the fact that we have been in a one-sided, undeclared, war with Iran since 1979.

You know, the country whose President told Diane Sawyer (yesterday) that "women shouldn't concern themselves with such serious questions as war."

If the people we are fighting in Iraq win I doubt if you'll be reading many more of Riverbend's posts. And, if we don't stop the radical Islamists soon we will live in a world where you won't be posting either.

Lisa & HMLA267 - one of you seems to have a pretty good grasp of reality, the other is living in a dangerous fantasy land.

From my perspective, I think it's pretty obvious which is which.

Dunno about who's living in fantasy land, but here are a few numbers from the battle of Gettysburg.

The 50,000 figure thrown out above is TOTAL casualties (51,000 according to one contemporary estimate)

Of those, approximately 10,000 were killed -- approx. 7,000 in the battle itself, the rest dying later of wounds suffered in the battle.

Significantly, only one civilian was known to have been killed in the battle.

The river through town running red with blood is dramatic imagery, but there is no river running through town. Rock Creek is east of Gettysburg and Willoughby Run is west of town.

Not to diminish the ghastly carnage of the bloodiest battle of America's bloodiest war. It was horrible enough without embellishment. The approx. 1,400 monuments (large and small) that decorate the battlefield (not including the cemetery) are grim testimony to a war unimaginable to 21st-century sensibilities.

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