As we recognize the 150th anniversary of the delivery of the Gettysburg Address, I hope we remember that thousands of people have continued to die so that this nation might live. I hope we are able to strengthen our resolve to find ways to work together instead of against each other so that this new nation – one of the people, by the people, and for the people – shall not perish from this earth.
It only took a few minutes. And even though it was extremely short, Lincoln delivered one of the greatest speeches in American rhetoric. And it’s only 10 sentences long. It’s a powerful example of how words matter. It’s also a poignant reminder that even greatness can have its critics. And while their criticism may have seemed warranted at the time, they seem pretty short-sighted and petty now.
150 years later, I think these words still ring true. They’re more than just a speech that I had to memorize in middle school. They still inspire. They still challenge. Lincoln says more in 271 words than most politicians say in their lifetime.
I’ve been reading a few biographies recently and have come to realize that several of the subjects are heroes of mine. I never really classified them as “heroes” until I started reading more about them. I’m working on a post about who those heroes are (and why they’re my heroes). But that post isn’t ready yet. So while I’m working on it, I have a question for you:
Who are your heroes? Who inspires you?
For a variety of reasons, I’d like to limit this to the realm of those who are no longer with us. I’m pretty sure I’ve asked this before, but I know it’s been a while so it’s worth asking again.
“I have a dream that…little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.
Thank you, Dr. King, for sharing your dream with the world. I’m sorry that it took far too long for people to understand that what was happening was, indeed, wrong. Your dream, however, has become our dream.
Thank you, Dr. King, for challenging us to look beyond skin color. You reminded the world that it’s what’s on the inside that’s important, not our mere appearances. It’s the content of our character, not the shade of our melanin. In your dream, you saw the Promised Land. While we’re really not that close to it yet, we’re trying.
Thank you, Dr. King, for standing up and paving the way. I have a hard time believing that my family would be what it is today without the sacrifices you made.
Today we remember. Today we commit to continuing to do better.
I went with Aiden and his class to the Wilbur Wright Birthplace today. An older lady was giving a tour of the house when she started talking to the students about the soap they made from lard and lye. “Now, this soap isn’t anything like the soap they sell today that smells all pretty,” she said. And then she went on to talk about how nasty the soap tastes, talking about how her mom used to wash her mouth out with soap whenever she said a naughty word.
All I could picture was Ralphie from A Christmas Story with that big ol’ block of soap stuck in his mouth.
In addition to the house and tool shed and smokehouse, they also have an area of a museum depicting their living quarters in Kitty Hawk with a fully-stocked kitchen. Included in the necessities was a box of soap. The very same soap that made Ralphie go blind!
And this scene has been running through my head the rest of the afternoon:
Apparently, they make a big deal about decorating the museum and such with Christmas trees. I think it would be great to have a cardboard cutout of Ralphie standing near the Lifebuoy soap. Maybe he could wear his pink bunny suit!
So – if you’re reading this, curators of the Wilbur Wright Birthplace, please, please, please make this happen!
Over the past week, I’ve wondered why the commercialism machine hasn’t capitalized on the presence of Presidents Day more effectively. I realize some retail stores had big sales this past weekend, but come on – this holiday is a gold mine of potential exploitation.
So, I started coming up with a list of things one could do in honor of Presidents Day. Things like:
Putting up a cherry tree and decorating it with busts of US Presidents.
Displaying mini replicas of the Liberty Bell and Mt. Rushmore in the Living Room.
Crashing a Presidents Day party where we wear our muddy boots inside and trash the host’s home in the process (Andrew Jackson, anyone?).
Playing Pin the Article on the Constitution. And if it goes into overtime, play Pin the Amendment on the Bill of Rights.
See? There’s a gold mine there!
I kind of got out of control in my Presidents Day planning and started to come up with Presidents Day carols. It’s been snowing outside since early Monday morning and it led me to almost post the title of a new Presidents Day carol…
I’m Dreaming of a White Presidents Day
Then I realized that would probably be taken out of context if I tried tweeting that or using it as my facebook status. And considering what I had to say upon the inauguration of our current President, such a statement could have been seen as contradictory, at best.
Yeah – I’m a moron.
So, I’ve decided to stop coming up with new ways to celebrate the un-capitalized-upon holiday before I inadvertently say something that could be misinterpreted as insensitive or ignorant or mean-spirited. I did, however, drink a glass of tea (sweet – is there any other kind?) in honor our our nation’s history and spent some time praying for our nation’s leadership.
Sorry, Hallmark. You’ll have to come up with your own ways to milk the holiday. But I promise, it’s a gold mine. Try it. You’ll like it.