239 years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the propositions that ALL PEOPLES ARE CREATED EQUAL AND CAN CONTINUALLY MOVE FORWARD TOGETHER UNITED IN PEACE.
Now we are engaged in a great inequality, racial, religious, and cultural war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are committed in unity to remember those we have lost, who have suffered, and are still suffering, so far in this continuing war for equality, justice, respect, and tolerance . We today rededicate our fight to uphold our original cause for which this nation was founded – equality of all peoples and justice for all, as a remembrance for those who thus far gave their lives, have suffered, or are still suffering that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
But, in a larger sense, we can not remember them– we can not thank them — we can not re-dedicate ourselves to this cause. The brave men and women, living and dead, who have struggled for the cause, and are still struggling have enshrined this cause in the fabric of our nation, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say today, but it can never forget what they did and are doing for this great cause.
It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated now to the unfinished work which they who fought before have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be today dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead, wounded, and still suffering we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion, sacrificed so much, or are still sacrificing — that we today highly resolve that these dead, wounded, and suffering shall not have died, been wounded, or suffer in vain — that this nation, under God and in harmony with nature, shall have a new birth of freedom, equality, justice, respect, and tolerance– and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, entwined in a commitment to equality, justice, respect, and tolerance, working towards world-wide non-violence and cooperation shall not perish from the earth.
Linda Lorincz Shelton
October 18, 2015