A gorgeous sunrise starts this video (that’s fyi if you just have a second vs 3 minutes for the whole screening!)
In the spirit of new beginnings and perspective, Happy Good Friday.
Today started at DC’s Lincoln Memorial for some reflection as the sun peeped up. It was a vibrant moment. That sunrise and this Good Friday have stimulated new views toward Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address for me.
It’s oddly alluring and startling all at once to be struck by a favorite text or speech in a different way (…after perceiving it in a certain light for years).
Have you ever crossed a similar bridge?
That altered perspective happened with one idea in particular with the Gettysburg Address, more fleshed out in the video moments above.
Remember his thought here, with this line?
“Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation [our nation] …can long endure.”
His use of the word testing stands out anew here. It’s a strong assertion, truthful in light of the huge civil strife, and also daunting. For whatever reason, I hadn’t fully considered the fact the president could’ve been testing his own certitude for how we would prevail. This is startling, a concept I haven’t consciously digested. Naive though it may be to feel this — I crave a president’s certainty, especially one like Lincoln during this gigantic national pivot!
Grappling with and rethinking the world’s great speeches motivates this new video series “Rhetoric Relived.” Sunrise moments are irreplaceable for refreshed perspective; so it’s my fond hope to keep recording on site at dawn.
Lincoln’s speech is a pillar of oratory strength, with critique of it widely offered in our nation’s robust speech history. His efficiency with ideas, nobility, and sense of reverence has drawn my attention in the past. But for some reason, this Good Friday and living in DC have sparked a renewed take on what he asserted with that line.
Is it obvious he doubts, even slightly, the tenacity of our national life? Maybe! It’s taken me years though (and more coffee!) to really stop and look at his assertion there. It is beautiful, strong, and unnerving still…just thinking our decisions as a country henceforth from Gettysburg just may derail us.
Or hopefully instead our country’s decisions and nation will “have a new birth of freedom…and not perish from the earth.”).
What strikes you in a different light - an exchange with another, a decision, an outcome, or something else?
More from LiveYourTalk:
- a college student from outside the USA and her take on Lincoln’s Gettysburg;
- Speechwriting and the perils of soundbite addiction.