Four Score and Seven Years Ago – Now You Say It

The short, succinct speech that opened with the words “four score and seven years ago” celebrated its 150th anniversary today.  Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address is a remarkable oratory work.

Lincoln Monument, Soldiers' National Cemetery in Gettysburg
Lincoln Monument, Soldiers’ National Cemetery in Gettysburg

The speech took place at the dedication of the “Soldiers’ National Cemetery” in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, on November 19, 1863.

Soldiers' National Monument
Soldiers’ National Monument, marking the location where President Abraham Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address.

I feel that it would be a disservice to write a blog post longer than Lincoln’s address.

Soldiers' National Cemetery, Gettysburg
Soldiers’ National Cemetery, Gettysburg

Instead I encourage you to “Learn the Address” (or just listen to a few folks read it to you – President Obama or former President G.W. Bush, or perhaps Rachel Maddow, Bill Gates or Stephen Colbert, or even the U.S. National Men’s Soccer Team) through Ken Burns’ latest Public Broadcasting System’s (PBS) project, “The Address,” set to air in the Spring of 2014.

Gettysburg Address in the Lincoln Memorial
The Gettysburg Address in the Lincoln Memorial

The Gettysburg Address (Bliss version¹)

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.

Ciao! ~ Kat

¹ Five slightly different versions of the Gettysburg Address are known to exist, with the most cited version being the “Bliss version,” which also is on the walls of the Lincoln Memorial.  More about the different versions can be found here.

4 responses to “Four Score and Seven Years Ago – Now You Say It”

  1. Was thinking of you and your men when watching some of the events marking this 150th moment. And was seeing some of the haunting photos you had shared of Gettysburg when you visited. So worth a pause to think of that time,the wisdom of President Lincoln as we remember.


  2. I’m glad to see that this speech is being remembered today. It’s a lesson of not just the power of words but that less is truly more.


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