With his 1863 Gettysburg Address, President Abraham Lincoln forever linked Gettysburg with the democratic ideal of a “Government of the people, by the people, for the people.”
True to democracy’s basic principle that all are created equal and endowed by the Creator with priceless human rights, the good citizen now, as always before, is called upon to defend the rights of others as he does his own; to subordinate self to the country’s good...to accept the truth that the work still to be done awaits his doing.
Dwight D. Eisenhower
100th Anniversary of the Gettysburg Address
November 19, 1963
A hundred years later, Gettysburg resident Dwight Eisenhower harkened back to Lincoln’s words with a call to Americans to be good citizens and take an active role in our democracy.
The Gettysburg words of Lincoln and Eisenhower remain deeply relevant today. Whether it is the “great Civil War” of Lincoln’s time, the Cold War tensions of Eisenhower’s presidency or the divisive domestic issues of today, the words of the two presidents express hope that our democracy will endure.
As we know today, it is a task that is never complete. Both Lincoln and Eisenhower acknowledged there is still work to do in preserving our democracy; we must be “dedicated to the great task remaining before us.”
Gettysburg calls on us to be citizens of our democracy and be dedicated to that task:
We want democracy to survive for all generations to come, not to become the insolvent phantom of tomorrow.
President Dwight D. Eisenhower
Farewell Address to the Nation
January 17, 1961
To be active. To be civil. To be responsible.
This is the work that awaits our doing.
This is Gettysburg Revisited.