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President Lincoln's call to remember

  • Published
  • By Maj. Joseph Herold
  • 442nd Civil Engineer Squadron
“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.”

As soon as you hear or see those words, they connect instantly, and you likely will think to yourself – “someone famous said that and it was important for some reason.”
If you’re good, you might be thinking, “That’s from Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address,” and if you’re really good, you’ll be thinking, “That’s from Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address when they dedicated a portion of the battleground as a cemetery in honor of the soldiers who served during the Civil War.” 

In another part of this famous speech, President Abraham Lincoln explained to everyone exactly why they were there and why he had made the long trip from Washington D.C. to Gettysburg, Pa.

“We are met on a great battlefield 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 can never forget what they did here …” – that’s a powerful plea from a wartime president to his countrymen to remember and honor those who served in the military protecting and defending American ideals. It is as appropriate today for us to heed this call as it was for the people back in 1863. 

Memorial Day for many is a day off from work, which gives us a three-day weekend and a great opportunity to relax with friends and family – and it is all that. But, in addition, as we take time to enjoy Memorial Day weekend, please do remember to recall what “the brave men [and women], living and dead ...” have done for you and for our country. 

If you can participate in a hometown Memorial Day parade, that’s fantastic. If not, how about attending a Veterans of Foreign Wars or American Legion sponsored service at your town’s local cemetery or war memorial? Show up in uniform, if you can. There are other options out there as well. 

However, if for whatever reason, you can’t make it to an organized Memorial Day event, please do take some time and just reflect on what your predecessors in the military have done for your country, your family and you.