I lit up when President Trump stated that he was contemplating having the 2020 Republican National Convention at the same place Lincoln delivered one of the greatest speeches of all times.

Eighty-seven years after the signing of the Declaration of Independence, the Gettysburg Address was delivered by Abraham Lincoln in 1863 at Soldiers’ National Cemetery in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Since that time many changes have been made to the speech, but the version that remains is of the highest quality in ideals.

I thought about all the uplifting words that his speechwriter could include for the President to share with a hurting people who need to be uplifted — since Lincoln was also speaking to a nation that was divided and hurting.

I have enough thoughts going through my head to claim. So, rather than speculate about what others may be thinking, I attribute nothing written in this column to any of the Sams family veterans I have referenced before as we remembered and recognized Charles, Jerome, Gene, James, James II and others to let them know they and their great sacrifices have not been forgotten.

For 15 or more years, I have connected with a neighbor who as a child attended the Fairview School, which was located in Cave Spring. He is adult now and can still eloquently recite the Gettysburg Address that was delivered by Abraham Lincoln on Nov. 19, 1863, at Gettysburg.

Ted Barnett was impacted by Lincoln’s address, so much so that, 60 years after memorizing it, he recites it with exuberance any time he is called upon to do so. Ted is now in his mid 70s, and he lights up each time anyone calls on him to deliver it. At any gathering, I call on him every opportunity that I get to do so.

The speech is one that should cause anyone who reads or hears it to light up — and to be emotionally and politically uplifted with hope and faith in our country. Lincoln extolled the sacrifices of those who died at Gettysburg in defense of the American principles, and exhorted his listeners to make a resolve about principles of honor and integrity,

When listening to Ted recite it, I mentally make changes as I think Lincoln would say if he were speaking to us today.

“But in a larger sense we cannot dedicate — we cannot consecrate — we cannot hallow these grounds” of the United States of America. The brave men and women, living and dead, who fought here and gave of themselves here and in other countries for our liberty and freedom, “have consecrated the impact and memory” of these great citizens of the 50 states “far above our poor power to add or detract.”

The listening and observing world and citizens of today “will little note, nor long remember, what we say here, but can never forget” what our dedicated military soldiers, and forefathers did here. “It is for us, the living, rather to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they have, thus far, so nobly started.”

“It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us” since America is just a baby compared to other countries — “that from these honored dead and living, we take increased devotion to that cause for which they” in that terrible Civil War “gave the last full measure of devotion,” hoping that there will be no need to have another one.

We in this country “highly resolve that these dead and living shall not have labored in vain; That this nation under God shall have a new birth of freedom;” and that the American government “of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

Let us have a new resolve to restore a part of what our forefathers and the outstanding American governmental leaders began here many, many years ago.

To you, the citizens of this great country with such incomparable possibilities, and to those across the vast horizon, we bid you good morning. Because we will treat this as a new day dawning upon us, calling on us for the restoration of all things honorable, good and pure and true in the hearts and minds of men and women of hood will.

Again, we bid you good morning. This is the beginning of a new day.

Willie Mae Samuel is a playwright and a director in Rome. She is the founder and director of the African American Connection of the Performing Arts Inc. and a 2020 Heart of the Community Award of Honor recipient.

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