The Silent Witness National Address
220 years ago our fathers and mothers brought forth on this
continent a new nation, conceived in Liberty and dedicated to the proposition
that all men are created equal. Since that time, women have tenaciously
demonstrated their need for Liberty and rightly, this continent's, this
world's, need for their equality.
We have long been engaged in a silent civil war, testing whether that
nation so conceived and so dedicated can long endure. We meet, every 14
seconds, on the battled fields of that war and often carry to their final
resting place, those who surrender their lives while this nation, conceived
in liberty watches, weeps, and retreats.
We are here tonight to dedicate and consecrate this day because henceforth,
we will not retreat.
But in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate and we cannot consecrate this
day. The brave women, living and dead who struggled have consecrate it
far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note
nor long remember what we say here, but we will not forget what happened
It is for us, the living, rather to be dedicated to the unfinished work
which they who struggled thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for
us to be dedicated to the great task remaining before us - that from these
honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave
their last breath. Make no mistake, that cause is liberty.
We here will highly resolve that these dead will not die in vain. We will
resolve that this nation shall have a new kind of freedom dedicated to
the proposition that all men and all women and all children are created
equal so we shall not perish from the earth.
I continue to be stunned by the intensity of these moments as the past
and present converge. Abraham Lincoln committed himself in 1863 to the
pursuit of liberty. In 2013, we shall recapture the spirit, revitalize
the morale and renew, in no uncertain terms, our commitment to the pursuit
of liberty and safety in our homes.