Lincoln’s Great Short Speech

The Civil War split the Southern side of my family.

My great-great grandfather was from the South, but fought on the side of the North. This sheared him from his family, his people, his past.

It, in a round-about way, is why I am an Okie today.

My family has others who fought in that war, Southerners who fought for the North. My grandfather’s father was a drummer boy. My family tends to have children late, which is why the generations are so short. That drummer boy great grandfather lived to be 101.

My husband’s family was also deep in it. They saluted the Stars and Bars. We sometimes joke that it took over 100 years for the two of us to marry across that divide.

America has seen worse than the problems she faces today.

Lincoln, whatever else he did, saved the Union. I do not think anyone else would have stood in that breach and doggedly kept on. If he had not done this, America would never have become the great power she is and the history of the entire world would be vastly different.

Without a strong America to lend-lease arms to the Soviets and Brits, and then to join the fight, would Hitler have won? Our entry in WWI was certainly a turning point, as well.

What about the peace that followed? What would have become of a world without the Marshall Plan, the rebuilding of Japan and America’s stalwart stand against Communism across the decades?

Lincoln saved the Union, and changed world history.

His great short speech at Gettysburg captured the tragedy of the Civil War in a few words.

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  • Ray Glennon

    Thank you for sharing. Very moving.

    I was privileged to be in Gettysburg on June 30th and July 3rd, 2013 for the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg. On Sunday evening, June 30th there was a memorial program followed by a candlelight walk through the Gettysburg National Cemetery. On Wednesday, July 3rd I attended a ranger talk at 6:00 a.m. in The Peach Orchard–150 years exactly from the time and in the place where General Lee and General Longstreet met to plan for the final day of the battle. At 3:00 p.m. that afternoon I was with many others on Cemetery Ridge standing where the Union lines would have been waiting for Pickett’s Charge. Another contingent walked across the same open fields traversed by the Confederate troops on that fateful day. On this day, it was done in peace in the greatest nation on earth–a nation that owes so much to the leadership of Abraham Lincoln. Thanks again.

    • hamiltonr

      Beautiful story Ray. Thank you for sharing it.

  • Theodore Seeber

    I think we’re about to fall apart again- into at least three groups:
    Those that love materialism more than life
    Those that respect life
    Those that not only respect life, but respect history as well.

    And I don’t see any way to stop it.

    The problem is, this doesn’t neatly fall apart into territory, which means the next civil war will be neighbor against neighbor, rural against urban, and there will be no uniforms to be able to tell people apart at a glance.

  • Theodore Seeber

    I can think of a better place to live. I just can’t afford to move to on offshore platform on a shallow rock that I built myself.