The Gettysburg Address In Eisenhowese

PrintPrintEmailEmail

Although most observers now agree that Elsenhower could be effectively articulate when he wished to be, during the years of his Presidency he was known for the disjointed, wandering quality of his speech. Mimics and parodists had a field day. One of the best such lampoons turned out to be by American Heritage’s former editor Oliver Jensen. It was first printed anonymously in the New Republic in June 1957. Since then, it has been widely reprinted with its proper by-line.

I haven’t checked these figures but eighty-seven years ago, I think it was, a number of individuals organized a governmental setup here in this country, I believe it covered certain eastern areas, with this idea they were following up based on a sort of national-independence arrangement and the program that every individual is just as good as every other individual. Well, now, of course, we are dealing with this big difference of opinion, civil disturbance you might say, although I don’t like to appear to take sides or name any individuals, and the point is naturally to check up, by actual experience in the field, to see whether any governmental setup with a basis like the one I was mentioning has any validity, whether that dedication, you might say, by those early individuals will pay off in lasting values.

Well, here we are, you might put it that way, all together at the scene where one of these disturbances between different sides got going. We want to pay our tribute to those loved ones, those departed individuals who made the supreme sacrifice here on the basis of their opinions about how this setup ought to be handled. It is absolutely in order and 100 percent okay to do this.

But if you look at the overall picture of this, we can’t pay any tribute—we can’t sanctify this area—we can’t hallow according to whatever individuals’ creeds or faiths or sort of religious outlooks are involved—like I said about this particular area. It was those individuals themselves, including the enlisted men, who have given this religious character to the area. The way I see it, the rest of the world will not remember any statements issued here but it will never forget how these men put their shoulders to the wheel and carried this idea down the fairway.

Our job, the living individuals’ job here, is to pick up the burden and sink the putt they made these big efforts here for. It is our job to get on with the assignment—and from these deceased fine individuals to take extra inspiration, you could call it, for the same theories about the setup for which they did such a lot. We have to make up our minds right here and now, as I see it, that they didn’t put out all that blood, perspiration, and—well—that they didn’t just make a dry run here, and that all of us here, under God, that is, the God of our choice, shall beef up this idea about freedom and liberty and those kind of arrangements, and that government of all individuals, by all individuals and for the individuals, shall not pass out of the world picture.