Monday, July 1, 2013

Remembering the Battle of Gettysburg 150 Years Later

“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.” – The Gettysburg Address, President Abraham Lincoln, November 1863.

On this day in 1863, two armed forces, one being the Union and the other being the Confederacy, engaged on a field in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania in one of the bloodiest battles ever in US history during the American Civil War.  For three days the battle raged on, resulting in over 46,000 casualties combined from both armies.

The Union endured a barrage of attacks to its flanks by the Confederate Army, before the two sides met head on.  The three day battle proved to be a major turning point in the Civil War, due to the many successes the Union had at Gettysburg.  From the defense of Little Round Top by the 20th Maine to “Pickett’s Charge”, the courageous efforts of those Union soldiers who fought during those three days kept not only their army intact, but kept a nation united.

My hope is that we all take some time out of our day to reflect on the sacrifices made that day and the people who made them on our behalf.  We are a better people, and a better nation because of their bravery.  Through the stewardship of President Abraham Lincoln, our country became whole once more.