The Last Full Measure of Devotion

Memorial Day 2014

Today like millions of Americans our family is gathered and enjoying a beautiful day.
As I stood watching my great grandson learning to hold his breath under water, I saw the reflection of the flag.
It brought to mind the poetic and moving description of a soldier’s sacrifice from Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address.

that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion

My grandfather fought in WWI in France.
My dad fought in WWII in the Pacific.
Many boys I went to High School with fought in Vietnam.
Some didn’t return.

Today I’m thinking of the brave men and women who, like those at Gettysburg, and every war, give that last full measure of devotion.
May they rest in peace.

Lincoln’s Address at Gettysburg
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.

President Abraham Lincoln
November 1863

2 Comments on “The Last Full Measure of Devotion

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