As I have done before, don’t’ forget in the midst of the: hotdogs, beer, flag flying, baseball playing or watching, ice cream, and apple pie, to take a few moments to read the master essay of the Committee of Five, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Robert Sherman, and Robert Livingston – The Declaration of Independence – wrote such a fine love letter to King George III.
The third and decisive day in the Battle of Gettysburg happened 150 years ago today.
It was arguably the turning point against the Confederacy; as not only was General Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia repulsed, but Union General Ulysses S. Grant’s Army of the Tennessee completed the siege and battle of Vicksburg, Mississippi on the same day, which gave control of the Mississippi river to the Union and effectively ended the war in the west.
Though it wasn’t delivered until November 1863, President Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, considered to be some of the best prose ever delivered is worth also reading today.
I will spare you having to link to it and let you read it here:
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 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 her 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.
Pause and reflect on these documents and please consider what they mean as a reflection of our country today.
Now go take in one of the local fireworks displays.