Readings Reheated

Eisenhower's Gettysburg Address

[Someone in Washington -- quite possibly a reporter who has attended too many presidential press conferences -- recently composed a satire which deserves a wider audience. The author titled his work: "The Gettysburg Address as Written by Dwight David Eisenhower", and, with a few slight alterations made by us, it runs as follows:]


I haven't checked these figures but 87 years ago, I think it was, a number of individuals organized a governmental setup here in this country, I believe it covered certain Eastern areas, with this idea they were following up based on a sort of national independence arrangement and the program that every individual is just as good as every other individual. Well, now, of course, we are dealing with this big difference of opinion, you might almost call it a civil disturbance, although I don't like to appear to take sides or name any individuals, and the point is naturally to check up, by actual experience in the field, to see whether any governmental setup with a basis like the one I was mentioning has any validity and find out whether that dedication by those early individuals will pay off in lasting values and things of that kind.

Well, here we are, at the scene where one of these disturbances between different sides got going. We want to pay our tribute to those loved ones, those departed individuals who made the supreme sacrifice here on the basis of their opinions about how this thing ought to be handled. And I would say this. It is absolutely in order to do this.

But if you look at the overall picture of this, we can't pay any tribute -- we can't sanctify this area, you might say -- we can't hallow according to whatever individuals' creeds or faiths, or sort of religious outlooks are involved about this very particular area. It was those individuals themselves, including the enlisted men, very brave individuals, who have given this religious character to the area. The way I see it, the rest of the world will not remember any statements issued here but it will never forget how these men put their shoulders to the wheel and carried out this idea.

Now frankly, our job, the living individuals' job here, is to pick up the burden they made these big efforts here for. It is our job to get on with the assignment -- and from these deceased fine individuals to take extra inspiration for the same theories for which they made such a big contribution. We have to make up our minds right here and now, as I see it, that they didn't put out all that blood, perspiration and -- well -- that they didn't just make a dry run here, and that all of us here, under God, that is, the God of our choice, shall beef up this idea about freedom and liberty and those kind of arrangements, and that government of all individuals, by all individuals, and for the individuals, shall not pass out of the world picture.

From: New Republic, June, 1957