Today is Memorial Day, and we at OurSeniors.net wish each of you a very happy holiday. There will be races, and parties, bar-b-ques and get-togethers, which is all good and fine. But, please take more than a moment to recall what Memorial Day is intended to do, to remember and recognize the sacrifice of those who, “gave their last full measure of devotion” for our nation.
Memorial Day observances have been held since the years following the Civil War. Hundreds of politicians, clergy and patriots have given speeches on this day, but the finest Memorial Day speech ever delivered may have been given before there even was such an observance. In November of 1863, President Abraham Lincoln traveled to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, to speak at the dedication of the Soldiers National Cemetery, a memorial to the soldiers who fought and died there. Lincoln delivered the greatest speech in American history, many think the greatest ever given in the English language. He summed up the meaning of Memorial Day in a few brief words….
”…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 cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract…”
“…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.”
Please think about Lincoln’s words today.