“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.”
In honor of my 16th email (holy crap, 4 months?!?!), I figured I would take a bite out of history and quote a passage from our 16th president, Calvin Coolidge. (Kidding!) For those of you who don’t know, I was a history major in college, though by no stretch of the imagination am I an “historian.” (why is it “an” and not “a’?)
But I do have some people who I admire and find fascinating. The Roosevelts, the Kennedys, and the rail-splitter himself, Abe. Ok, raise your hand if you read the quote above and knew what it was from. If you are still not sure, it was said seven score and six years ago. Yes, on November 19, 2009, the Gettysburg Address turned 149 years old. As we all remember, the speech was given at the Gettysburg battlefield during the Civil War; but doesn’t the message still resonate today? Don’t we still have unfinished work?
Again, I am not going to talk about politics or religion or race and the purpose of this email is certainly not to espouse any political agenda about the current conflict/war/campaign/struggle. But what I do want to say is this: Thanksgiving is now only a few days away. I have a lot to be thankful for: my family, my health, my faith, all of my loyal readers, and my freedom. That freedom came from someplace. For right or wrong, whether you support it or not, our military is out there right now fighting for us.
Look again at the Gettysburg Address. Sure, it addresses themes associated with that conflict, the preservation of the union. But the overarching theme is the gratitude for those fallen in defense of our country, in defense of our safety, and in defense of our freedom. It is a speech that could have been given in 1919, in 1945, in 1969, and even today. This country has known war (there can only be on Switzerland, I guess). But it is the sacrifices made by its leaders and by its military that has allowed it to sustain itself and survive.
I have talked a lot in the past about heroes. Right now, I have 500,000 of them and they are all out there (for right or wrong) to protect us.
This Thanksgiving, I am raising a toast to my heroes.
Have a safe, joyful, and reflective Turkey Day. I have a lot to be thankful for.