Remembering Gettysburg: The perennial lesson
The Battle of Gettysburg's heroism and sacrifice are as awe-inspiring today as ever on this eve of its 150th anniversary. And so is its significance in reminding us of the ever-present need to ensure that America fulfills its destiny as freedom's exemplar.
The presence and interest of immense crowds expected for this week's Gettysburg National Military Park commemorative events pay richly deserved tribute to those who fought there from July 1 to 3, 1863. Gettysburg's 51,000 casualties made it both the Civil War's bloodiest battle and its turning point: Without that victory over the secessionist Confederacy, President Abraham Lincoln might well have failed to preserve the Union.
Yet the battle's scope and spectacle — and the commercial distractions that surround its site — can obscure its fundamental role in shaping Americans and their nation.
Gettysburg ensured that the conflict inherent in proclaiming equality yet countenancing slavery — a flaw of the Founders' and Framers' design that even they could not resolve — would be settled in liberty's favor. And staggering as the price to do so was, it had to be paid for the United States to truly become what they intended.
A century and a half later, remembrance of our ancestors' courage, determination and devotion at Gettysburg is fitting. But honor them, too, with renewed dedication to what was upheld there: American ideals as worthy of fighting for now — and tomorrow — as they were then.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Drilling laws: Your rights
- U.N. Watch: The aid ingrates
- A misdialed number suggests a criminal conspiracy in the IRS scandal
- Saturday essay: Saving Catalpa
- Connellsville’s clash over authority: Work it out
- Ban felon-lobbyists? A better idea
- Pittsburgh Laurels & Lances
- Sunday pops
- The Box
- Greensburg Laurels & Lances
- Patriot day 2014: Never forget