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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 here.

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.

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