September 1, 2003

Words to Be Spoken at Ground Zero

A great American president, invited to speak at the second anniversary of September 11 in New York City, might put it something like this:

Two years ago our enemies brought to us on this continent a new war, conceived in hatred and dedicated to the proposition that all Americans are to be slaughtered because they are Americans.

Now we are engaged in a great global war, testing whether this nation or any nation so attacked can long find the courage to endure the duties and sacrifices necessary for victory.

We are met on our first mass grave of that war. We have come to remember it as a final resting-place for those who here were murdered in our airplanes, at their desks, or trying to save others. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this. But in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow this ground.

Our fellow citizens, living and dead, who struggled here and in the war since that day have consecrated it far above our poor power to add or detract.

The old world and those among us still weak and dedicated to appeasement will little note nor long remember what we say here, but we can never allow ourselves to forget what happened here.

It is for us the living rather to be dedicated here to the as yet unfinished war which by their deaths these victims and heroes have required of us.

It is rather for us to become more deeply dedicated to finishing the great task remaining before us--that from the ashes of our 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 all nations under God shall have a new birth of freedom, and that governments of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth.

Posted by Vanderleun at September 1, 2003 9:04 PM
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