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A short speech, long remembered: Gettysburg Address praised at Pa. battle site 150 years later
Synopsis: In this article, the author talks about the significance of the Gettysburg Address in the midst of the Civil War as well as its lasting impact on the American people and their values. Last Tuesday, thousands gathered to celebrate President Lincoln’s infamous speech. Pennsylvania Governor, Tom Corbett, and Civil War historian, James McPherson commented on how the Battle of Gettysburg was a turning point in the war and Lincoln’s response over four months later provided the reason why that victory was so critical – it was a step towards fulfilling the American philosophy that, “all men are created equal.” Suburban Philadelphia high school junior Lauren Pyfer was also in attendance, and, after winning a local contest, was given the opportunity to deliver a contemporary version of the Gettysburg Address. Intentionally brief, her speech carried with it the country’s, “greatest virtues of humility, of honesty and decency” just as Lincoln’s had 150 years earlier.
Analysis: In Government Class we are currently writing about the impact of past presidential speeches. In times of crisis, the sign of a true leader is when he can gain the support of his nation while taking the risks necessary to ensure that the interests of his people are protected. Both President Lincoln and President Truman fit this description. At a time when the Soviet Union threatened the natural rights of Greece and Turkey, Truman stepped up and got involved when he could have easily stood back and watched. Decades before him, Lincoln had to make a similar decision – stand back and allow men who are supposedly created equal to be treated like property, or risk re-election for the betterment of society. Both men inspired millions with their words and shaped American History through their actions.