Connecting the Past with the Future Raising the Barr Weekly Memo: Issue 358

Many Americans and perhaps others around the world, have spent at least a few minutes watching the live testimony of the impeachment inquiry this week. While researching a topic for this newsletter, I discovered that on this day, November 19, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg address on the battlefield near Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. As a naturalized citizen, I had never read this short speech, 271 words to be exact, one that Lincoln delivered in just 2 minutes. In its brevity and remarkable clarity and conciseness, it seemed to me applicable to our lives as Americans and global citizens even today.

It was believed that President Lincoln’s address had three main purposes:

To bring the country (especially the North) together, when it was divided by different views of the war, to reiterate his view of the purpose of the United States and to provide a direction for the future ‘soul’ of the United States.

I’m forever in awe of the greatness of this nation and all its opportunities. I hope that our own words and writings, can make a difference in the lives of those we interact with in business and our daily lives. I’ve included the address below and I hope you find inspiration in it as I did.

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 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.

Abraham Lincoln
November 19, 1863

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