The Declaration of Independence grandly declares “all men were created equal.” But for nearly a century, those words meant nothing to African-American slaves. During the Civil War, Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation granted freedom to slaves in the South; at the end of the war nearly 4 million slaves were freed. Slavery was over but its impact remained and it was a long time before African-Americans felt anything close to equality. But more recent advancements suggest that racial equality has been achieved. 41 members of the 112th Congress are black, and our current President is African American. This shows how far our perceptions have come since the time of the Civil War. The Civil War inspires us that true freedom is worth fighting for, even if it has a high cost. Not only this, but when the war brought an end to slavery it paved the way for other such struggles of civil rights (such as women’s suffrage). The blood spilled on the battlefields has long since dried, yet the sacrifices made there led to a reborn nation. The nation paid for by sacrifices at Gettysburg, Antietam, Appomattox Court House—and other such battles – was no longer the same. It was ushered to a new era, leaving slavery behind. The four years of bloody struggle had liberated African-Americans from the bonds of inequality. It would be up to future generations to continue to strive to live up to the ideal that “all men were created equal.” It was the Civil War that sent the Union down the path for right and justice. It would be several generations before skin color was truly disregarded, and the country still struggles with the issue today.
"It would be an honor to be there on the anniversary of Gettysburg because it would of course be the perfect opportunity to remember the soldiers and commanders that fought on both sides and appreciate the importance of the battle, but I would like especially to help honor the noble men who didn’t make it home from Pennsylvania."
- Annabel Chosy -
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 battlefield 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.