Thursday, November 19, 2009

"Four Score, etc."

It was on this day in 1863 that Abraham Lincoln stood up to say a few words about the Union and Confederate dead at Gettysburg. The Gettysburg Address was around 265 words long (it wouldn't have qualified as a minor essay in one of our children's writing classes), and it only took a couple of minutes to deliver it. The president was preceded on the program by Edward Everett who spoke for over two hours. There is one photograph of Lincoln on the occasion. It shows him getting down from the podium, which suggests that the photographer had barely gotten set up when he realized the speech was over, which is a bit like life itself, isn't it? Two years later, the war was over and Lincoln was dead. Abraham Lincoln appears nine times in A Book of Ages. Edward Everett doesn't appear at all.

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