Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Gettysburg: 150 Years Ago

Today marks the 150th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address.

Hundreds of Americans gathered on November 19, 1863 to hear President Abraham Lincoln dedicate a cemetery as the resting place for several thousand solders killed during the three day battle fought between July 1-3, 1863.

Hundreds gathered today for a reenactment of that special day.

 In only  272 words, the first Republican president of the United States reaffirmed what Jefferson perhaps unintentionally introduced in his Declaration of Independence: a proposition nation.

Other nations in the past based their national identity on a history, a homeland, a language, and a religion.

As the first new nation we lacked those characteristics that almost all other nations shared. Our origins lay in several countries of Europe and Africa. Our history was an episode in the experience of England. Our homeland  was the New World. Our language was the cultural inheritance of a now foreign country. Our religion, while largely Christian, represented dozens of divisions of that faith.

So what held us together?

The ideas of liberty, equality, and republican government.

The national identity of other nations rests on who they were and are.

Ours rests upon what we believe.

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