Mrs P. from Quilting in My Pyjamas has started a new Friday thing called Favourite Things Fridays. As you may have surmised, we are all called upon to reflect upon our favorite things. Or rather, Favourite Things, as Mrs. P would say. She’s an Aussie. She eats vegemite for real. I know. High ick factor. But I still like her:-)
One of my favorite things is speeches. I love them. My very favorite speech of all time is the Gettysburg Address. Let me tell you why:
Way back in the eighth grade, my fifth favorite teacher ever, Mr. Robertson (my first favorite teacher being Mrs. Maxwell from the first grade, followed by Mrs. Yates from the second grade, followed by Mrs. True from the third grade, followed by Mr. Robertson’s wife, Mrs. Robertson, from the fifth grade, which means we won’t be talking about Chicken’s fourth grade teacher, Mrs. Barnes, and we’ll skip the whole sixth and seventh grade), challenged us to memorize the Gettysburg Address for extra credit.
I should explain here that Mr. Robertson was way cute. Like middle-school major crush cute. And I just had to impress him somehow. So I memorized it and recited it and got my extra credit. I didn’t get to marry Mr. Robertson, however, because apparently Mrs. Robertson knew more speeches by heart plus all the capitals of all the states, which I had forgotten by the time I got to eighth grade.
But I never forgot that speech.
The Gettysburg Address is beautiful. It is short and so honest. I do not know if Abraham Lincoln wrote it himself, but I like to think that he did, and that the words he spoke that day, on that battlefield, were from his own heart.
I recited this speech as a bedtime story to all of my kids before they got old enough to talk and demand “Goodnight Moon”. It is my way of remembering it. I have a lot of kids so I know it really, really well. Maybe when they are older they will get a warm feeling in their hearts whenever they hear the Gettysburg Address. They may not know why, of course. It would be more of a subliminal thing. A Pavlovian thing. It is not like I go around reciting the Gettysburg Address before meals. I don’t. Hardly ever.
Well. Once, I did recite it at a company retreat. But that was an emergency. The electricity went out, there was nothing to do, I felt a need to entertain, and I can’t sing or dance. If you have ever watched “The Office”, it was probably something like that. Picture an “Office Retreat”, a lot of semi-drunk people playing pool, and suddenly the lights go out. What should we do? It is too quiet! So I recited the Gettysburg Address. Someone fell over backwards in their chair. Probably overwhelmed. Yes. I am a tool. Call me Michael. Thank you. Whatever. Anyway.
So thank you, Mr. Robertson, for introducing me to the Gettysburg Address. Here it is. Please pay attention If you memorize it by Monday, I’ll give you extra credit:
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.
What do you think? Nice, right?
And now I realize that I’ve missed Friday and we are in to Saturday, so I guess it is a Favorite Things Saturday post.
It is September 11, so I think it is still fitting.
Where were you?
Here are some more good words:
I know Jesus and I talk to God and I remember this from when I was young…
Faith, Hope, and Love are some good things he gave us
And the greatest is Love…
Wishing you well,