Tuesday, November 19, 2013

One Hundred Fifty Years Ago Today

I don't watch much TV, but it seems there has been one documentary after another all this month about the assassination of JFK, marking the fiftieth anniversary of the event, to the point that I am thoroughly sick of it. Kennedy was an OK president (he looks great considering his horrid successors), but in the great scheme of things, his death, while a personal tragedy for his family, was not one of the most important events in American history.

Some of those who died for the new birth of freedom.
Gettysburg after the battle.
This week (today, in fact) also marks a milestone anniversary, the 150th, of a truly momentous event -- probably the greatest speech in American history, the Gettysburg Address, in which Abraham Lincoln restated the principles upon which the nation had been founded four score and seven years prior to the battle.
"... 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."
This event has been totally ignored.

I fear that this is another case of the self-absorption of my generation. Too many Baby Boomers grew up with the belief (and some continue to believe) that they are the center of the universe, that nothing that occurred outside their span of awareness has any significance, and that anything that touches their lives is of surpassing importance.

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