I had the pleasure of meeting with Terry Bulger, a reporter with WSMV-TV (Channel 4 News, Nashville) on Friday afternoon. What a great guy. So down to earth, easy to be with. He and a cameraman came to the house and we chatted for an hour about writing and Tennessee history. The show will air sometime soon. I'll post a link when it does. (View some of Terry's previous interviews.)
As they were leaving, I grabbed a copy of From a Distance and A Lasting Impression (both of which have Tennessee history in them). And when I mentioned that From a Distance has the Gettysburg Address in it, lo and behold, Terry launched off and quoted it. The entire address! From memory! Pretty impressive.
In case you haven't read the Gettysburg Address recently (the speech Abraham Lincoln delivered on November 19, 1863 in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania reminding a war-weary public "why the Union had to fight, and win, the Civil War"), here it is:
"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 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 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."
What a humble leader, and what an incredible example of leadership for a nation coming apart at the seams in 1863. The challenge Lincoln delivered that day has as much meaning for us today––perhaps even more––as it did then.
David Bachrach, a Mathew Brady photographer, captured one of the only known images of Abraham Lincoln at the November 1863 dedication of the Gettysburg National Cemetery.
(Photo Credit: Library of Congress )
View more pictures from Gettysburg and Mathew Brady.