620,000 and a Speech, or a Foundation for Reconciliation

by Jim Lamason on March 23, 2008 · 0 comments

Hi all,

Well its been a while. Like October. A lot has happened in my life since then.

But that aside, I want to take a few moments to talk about the recent debate and other heated discussion about RACE.

There has been considerable discussion, speeches, and even debate over how to reconcile the great divide that still exists between not only the African American and White, but also for that matter, I believe it has to extend to all the citizens of the United States, and the world as a whole.

The title of this blog post is the foundation then for this blog entry.

Ok where does that number come from? Those who know of the Civil War or the War between the States, or whatever you want to call it, know that number is the total of those who gave their lives “that this nation ” might live. Ponder that number for a moment.

That total, is the number of people who live within 30 miles of where I sit. In Central New Jersey. The battle of Gettysburg, the largest one of them all had total casualties alone of 48,000 (Regimental Strengths and Loses at Gettysburg, Busey and Martin 2000). That’s a little over half of the total population of the city of Trenton, the state capital.

620,000, of which a little over half died of disease. That leaves a little over 300,000 where casualties who were KIA or died of their wounds or simply disappeared never to be seen again. They were farmers, bankers, doctors, lawyers, brick layers, masons, railroad men, in other words not to different even from today’s population.

Lives snuffed out. By a horrible war. Buttttttt

They left a foundation by that sacrifice!

So to the speech… Ok which one right?

If you are my age, we were required as early as 5th grade to memorize it.

Four score and seven years ago, our forefathers brought to this continent…

Yes, the Gettysburg Address.

There are those who I am sure would insist that Lincoln when he gave that speech, was speaking of the Union, or “Yankees” who gave that last full measure of devotion.

I say Nope… Why? One line and I want you to notice something.. There is no direct reference to a specific side. “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.

Please reread that again. For me the price has been paid in full for the great sin of Slavery.

Reread that one sentence, “THAT THESE DEAD HAVE NOT DIED IN VAIN!”..

For me, this is the place to build a new day. A new place, a new nation a new relationship. For you see the barriers those barriers of hate, of anger and the need for revenge have all been blown away. Why? Well if we continue on as we are now, then the men and even the women, both black and white, will truly have died in vain. For even in our calloused society, where death and suffering confronts daily in the news and in even our TV shows, surely we cannot just disregard with a wave of our hands or a shrug of our shoulders their sacrifice. To do so would make us even worse then those who still want us want our society to be still in bondage to hate, anger, and to fear.

In closing surely Lincoln and the veterans of that time, and even those if they could rise from their graves would add their amens. I believe we want a place to start? Lets remember all of those who “gave that last full measure”, and not forget the words that rang out now, over 145 years ago, on a cold November day in 1863.

Thanks for listening.

Jim Lamason


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