America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.
~ Abraham Lincoln
Can any of us understand what it means to give up all that we have to reach for something that is beyond ourselves? Is there anything greater than being willing to give up your life for your country, your constitution, and for your fellow man? Would any of us do what he did and sacrifice what he sacrificed?
I went to visit Ford’s Theater years ago and across the street is the room in which Lincoln died. The blood from his wound is still there on the simple bed on which he died while his wife broke down in another room. It was the first time that I understood all those history lessons. History wasn’t history, it was the present, and all that Lincoln was and meant became universal. We are free because of Abraham Lincoln and all the others who gave up so much for us.
People might not agree on Lincoln but the one thing that people cannot take away from Lincoln is that he gave up everything for something he believed in, something that was far greater than himself.
The Assasination of Abraham Lincoln –
Lincoln is a controversial figure even today. He was reviled by many, particularly in the south. He fought the most devastating war we have ever known on U.S. soil. He used some tyrannical approaches to further the cause of freedom for slaves but he used kindness as well. Slavery is so despicable that it is hard to assess the extent of blame Lincoln deserves.
After his assassination, Wilkes was shocked to find that he was condemned in both the North and the South.
Why did John Wilkes Booth do it? It is interesting that Booth was upset by what he saw as Lincoln’s tyranny but seemed to have no understanding of the tyranny of slavery. He followed through on his beliefs but he did so with great hatred and then he fled, like a coward.
I read one of Theodore Roosevelt’s biographies and in it was a photo of Theodore as a little boy watching Lincoln’s funeral procession. Lincoln helped define Theodore Roosevelt according to Theodore Roosevelt himself.
The Gettysburg Address (Believed to Be the Final Copy)
November 19, 1863
On June 1, 1865, Senator Charles Sumner commented on what is now considered the most famous speech by President Abraham Lincoln. In his eulogy on the slain president, he called it a “monumental act.” He said Lincoln was mistaken that “the world will little note, nor long remember what we say here.” Rather, the Bostonian remarked, “The world noted at once what he said, and will never cease to remember it. The battle itself was less important than the speech.”
“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.”
Don’t interfere with anything in the Constitution. That must be maintained, for it is the only safeguard of our liberties.
~ Abraham Lincoln