This past week we have observed Veteran’s Day and I wanted to share one of my favorite stories of a president who grieved mightily over the sacrifices made by American soldiers during the Civil War.
Sometime prior to November 1863, the committee in charge of the official dedication for the National Cemetery at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, asked President Abraham Lincoln to speak. Yet, Lincoln was not the principal speaker. The primary speaker that day was Edward Everett. The following day, Everett wrote Lincoln in a pronounced gesture of charity: “I wish that I could flatter myself that I had come as near to the central idea of the occasion in two hours as you did in two minutes.”
Although he was not the featured orator that day, America remembered Lincoln’s 272-word address as one of the most significant speeches in American history. In it, Lincoln summoned the principles of human equality contained in the Declaration of Independence. He also linked the sacrifices of the Civil War with the desire for “a new birth of freedom,” as well as the all-important preservation of the Union and its ideal of self-government created in 1776.
Friends of FUMC, Arlington, I ask you to say a prayer for all our service men and women who protect our rights and liberty.