Honoring Those “Who Gave The Last Full Measure of Devotion” – On Memorial Day

Today is Memorial Day, when we honor our countrymen who have sacrificed their lives to defend our freedom and independence. And here at Anaheim Independent, we shall turn to the words and wisdom of our 16th President, Abraham Lincoln, to capture the meaning of the day.

First, his heart-rending Letter to Mrs. Bixby, that encapsulates the price and meaning of such sacrifice:

Executive Mansion,
Washington, Nov. 21, 1864.

Dear Madam,–

I have been shown in the files of the War Department a statement of the Adjutant General of Massachusetts that you are the mother of five sons who have died gloriously on the field of battle.

I feel how weak and fruitless must be any word of mine which should attempt to beguile you from the grief of a loss so overwhelming. But I cannot refrain from tendering you the consolation that may be found in the thanks of the Republic they died to save.

I pray that our Heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement, and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom.

Yours, very sincerely and respectfully,

A. Lincoln

Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, better than any speech, that forthrightly states it is the principles of our Founding in 1776 for which our fallen have given their lives to preserve, and why it is worth fighting and dying for:

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth upon 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.

2 comments

  1. Jeffrey M Harty

    MY HEART AND CONDOLENCES GOES OUT THE FAMILIES WHO HAVE LOST A LOVED ONE IN THE ARMED FORCES. MAY THIS MEMORIAL DAY 20021 BE A TIME OF REMEMBRANCE. GOD BLESS YOU ALL SERVICE MEMBERS. ALL THE BEST,JEFFREY HARTY MORRISTOWN NJ

    • Larry Herschler

      MomSnd to all Stay Strong cities and to all the drive by victims and to the 9/11 victims and to all the folks in blue and to the Jan 6th victims. All we are saying is give peace a chance. Thoughts and prayers are nice but they don’t bring change. IMAGINE all the people…

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