Monday, June 24, 2013

One and Fiftieth Anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg

America prepares to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the battle of Gettysburg and also remember with pride and choking emotion the prophetic, poignant and arguably one of the greatest speeches delivered by President Abraham Lincoln upon conclusion of the battle. There are few moments in History when the words of a single inspired individual raises the collective consciousness of an entire nation to a new level of awareness and action. Nehru's - "tryst with Destiny";Marin Luther king's - "I have a dream", JFK's "Ask not what the country can do for you...." - all of them were spoken with a passion and conviction that comes with a deep sense of understand and power. The very same words spoken by lesser individuals may not have had the same impact or resonance amongst people; but uttered from the mouths of these stalwarts, the words pierces through the stultified intellect of the masses and nonchalantly touches a chord that lies deeply buried and lost within us; and would have remained so for eternity, if not for the sheer strength of the emotion of those spoken words that startles and awakens the mind with its belligerent and audacious push to break loose from the cocoon,and dream and aspire for a condition that is a million times more uplifting and honorable than the present.

In a speech that purportedly lasted two minutes, Lincoln used the word "We" ten times and referred to Gettysburg - the place, eight times, thereby connecting every individual assembled there to the cause of freedom and the heavy price that had to be paid at Gettysburg to hold it together. Repetition is an essential aspect of public speaking, but the trick is to know "when" , "what" and "how" to repeat. Every word in that brief speech is pregnant with meaning. Generations to come may lose sight of the lives lost at Gettysburg, but the words of Lincoln will remain for forever etched in the genetic composition of all mankind.

Let us then, on this occasion, read the speech once again, and also read it aloud to our children, that these words may take root in their supple and innocent minds and grow into a firm conviction, to preserve and value the dignity of every individual blessed to live on this glorious earth, without being ostracized either for their birth or upbringing. That would be a fitting tribute on this 150th year of remembering Gettysburg.

God bless.............

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