Thursday, November 19, 2009

"The world will little note, nor long remember, what we say here, but can never forget what they did here."

Both the words and the deeds are remembered, though like much of our history, the fact of them is remembered more than the spirit. We need reminding; the words, the memory of those deeds, need repeating.

November 19th, 1863, Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address. And the words, they project across decades, decades, the spirit and the force of the ideas alive to us, if only we choose to attend to them.

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 here gave the last full measure of devotion - that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain; that this nation shall have a new birth of freedom; and that this government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

It's easy to take this country for granted; it's easy take your liberties for granted. But the struggle for their continuance and endurance has always been hard-fought; it certainly still is today. Don't let yourself forget what our soldiers do and face every day. And keep in mind the multiple ways in which this struggle manifests itself - the daily battle against complacency, ignorance and lazy habits of mind, defeatism, petty tyrannies, the creeping tendrils of confinement and control that wrap themselves around our lives when we're not looking, when we cease to care.

The Gettysburg Address