...delivered after two hours of speechifying."
150 years ago, during the dedication of the National Cemetery in Gettysburg, President Lincoln was invited to give a few remarks during the dedication. Coming on the heels of a two hour speech by Edward Everett, Lincoln's address was 10 sentences, 272 words, and lasted 2 minutes. Along with the thousands in attendance, Lincoln himself had no idea that his short oration would become one of the best known and most famous speeches of all time.
The reaction to Lincoln's speech were muted. Lincoln, after delivering his address, said, "It's a flat failure, and the people are disappointed." He could not have been more wrong. Even 150 years later, "The Gettysburg Address", as it has come to be called, became the focusing factor of the country in the Civil War.
After more than two years of war, hundreds of thousands of casualties, and carnage previously unimaginable, the nation was growing weary. The people wanted peace, and the ultimate goal of the war was becoming cloudy. Lincoln changed all of that in two minutes on that November day in 1863. The focus was re-defined, the sacrifices were remembered, and the goal of total victory was restored.
The text of Lincoln's address is as follows:
In a country that currently is undergoing its own struggle of divisiveness and political uncertainty, it is important that all Americans of all faiths, all national origins, and all political ideologies take a few minutes and reflect on the words of the 16th President. To borrow the words of someone more famous than any of us, "It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this."