I have a friend who once advised me that one should make all of one’s major life decisions in a cemetery. I’m not sure if I entirely buy that, but I must admit that I have always been drawn to them.
Over the school April vacation, Sam and I made a trip down to the DC area via Gettysburg. I also got a chance to visit my parents gravesite at Arlington, so actually most of the time that I was not visiting with family, I was at the cemetery, It did generate some thoughts.
You can’t help but be struck by the sacrifice that past generations have made for this country. It is truly amazing and humbling. There is an amazing story of sacrifice here on one of our last trips to DC for Mom’s funeral service. A young man, just out of college killed in Vietnam just weeks about his wife’s first pregnancy.
The Gettysburg Address is generally considered one of the jewels of American prose. The keynote speaker of the day, Edward Everet, was an amazing orator and was a Secretary of State, Congressman, Senator, President of Harvard, and Governor of Massachustts. Lincoln only spoke for two minutes at the end (Everett spoke for over 2 hours!) and most people were not even aware that he was there much less delivered a speech.
Everett wrote Lincoln a note after the speech and immediately knew what had happened. In part, he wrote: “I should be glad, if I could flatter myself that I came as near to the central idea of the occasion, in two hours, as you did in two minutes.”
Now that’s amazing humility and recognition of that is now considered a given, but at the time, not so much.