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Wednesday, 11 September, 2002, 13:27 GMT 14:27 UK
Words of Lincoln console nation
Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln: 'Four score and seven years ago...'
On 19 November 1863 President Abraham Lincoln dedicated a cemetery on a Civil War battlefield where 51,000 Confederate and Union soldiers were lost or wounded after just three days of fighting.

Most Americans cannot hear the name of the Pennsylvania town of Gettysburg without thinking of Lincoln's famous - and elegantly brief - speech on that occasion.


It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us... 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

Abraham Lincoln

On September 11 2002, more than a century later, Lincoln's two-minute speech to honour the sacrifices of the war dead was read by New York Governor George Pataki at a ceremony to remember the victims of the September 11 attacks:

"Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth, on this continent, a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived, and so dedicated, can long endure.

We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting-place for those who here gave their lives, that that nation might live.

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.

The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it far above our poor power to add or detract.

New York Governor George Pataki
George Pataki read the historic speech

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."


New York despatches

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11 Sep 02 | Americas
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