Today is April 14, a day most Americans know as the day in which they madly scramble to finish their taxes before the deadline for filing tomorrow, April 15. But something of great moment happened on this day, a long time ago.
Education Through Entertainment
One hundred and fifty years ago today, a tall thin man, weak and dizzy from an as yet undiagnosed case of smallpox, rose from a temporary platform to face a crowd of onlookers beneath a cold and drizzly gray sky. He was there to deliver “a few remarks” in dedication of an as yet unfinished cemetery. The previous speaker was Edward Everett renowned orator and the the main featured attraction that bleak morning.
To no one's surprise, Steven Spielberg's film Lincoln has gathered a large array of nominations for this year's Academy Awards. Best Film, Best Actor and on and on. The film is brilliant and deserves all the recognition it can get. In particular, the performance of Daniel Day Lewis in the title role deserves supreme accolades.
Seven score and nine years ago, President Abraham Lincoln, weak from an oncoming illness, stepped in front of a large crowd gathered in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania to deliver what would become widely recognized as one of the finest speeches ever uttered in the English language. The words he spoke that day have come down to us one hundred and forty nine years later as The Gettysburg Address. Words that have been studied and faithfully memorized by millions over the decades that follow because of the powerfully elegant simplicity with which they sum up so much of what was great about Abraham Lincoln and, more importantly, what is great about America.