I recently happened across two paragraphs from Gabor Boritt's wonderful study on Lincoln's Gettysburg address in The Gettysburg Gospel. Boritt recounts the history after the battle, ending July 4, 1863, to the dedication of the National Cemetery, on the following November 18. Tens of thousands of people descended on the town of normally 2,400 souls. On the morning of the address, upon leaving the Will's house were he lodged, Lincoln offered some sage advice to the Press (p.94):
"If Lincoln had time on his hands, he may have also practiced reading out his [Gettysburg address] speech. Liberty Hollinger, then a young girl, would remember many years later how she watched the assembling parade from the house on the [Gettysburg town square] Diamond and noticed Lincoln coming to the window twice, looking over the crowds and holding a paper in his hands. Liberty also thought that she saw "inexpressible sadness" on his face, contrasting sharply with the excitement of the masses below.
The people in the square indeed seemed ready. But before Lincoln could move out into the teeming throng, reporters managed to work their way into the house; perhaps others did, too. The president was ready to talk. "The best course for the journals of the country to pursue, if they wished to sustain the Government," he explained, "was to stand by the officers of the army." Instead of critizing military blunders, the people should be urged to provide "all the aid in their power."
Noting our nation lost more combat deaths for the sake of the Union, and ultimately, the demise of slavery in this singular Gettysburg Battle then all the causalities of the Iraq liberation and present reconstruction (the first mission was in fact accomplished, the mission of reconstruction continues), I am startled at how small minded we have become, and how much less we love freedom, and how our press has so drifted off our founders' compass heading.
I noticed Charlie Rangel is hawking his autobiography. I wish him success and profits. I learned he earned the Purple Heart while serving his President in Korea. No doubt the South Korean people owe their peace and prosperity to his heroic sacrifice, noting we have remained there to help sustain South Korea's freedom for some fifty years. Why then, does Mr. Rangel seek to deny such freedom to the Iraqi people, by defunding the troops in the field? Are they not undertaking an equally noble struggle? Mr. Rangel's antics are a mockery of the heroism of his youth! Is it not better for a man to finish his years strong, advancing the cause of freedom when it is in his hands to do so?