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After 150 years, the union is preserved, but what of liberty?
Even with all of the monuments, markers and preserved artillery pieces, the pastoral calm of south central Pennsylvania still dominates the battlefield where some 160,000 Americans clashed in the continent's most epic and consequential military confrontation. The familiar images from three raging days of furious and deadly battle for America's soul still stand in stark contrast to the undeniable tranquillity of the setting. Yet it was here that the union was most famously preserved, and where Abraham Lincoln, in his eloquent address, ultimately challenged the nation to establish a new birth of freedom based on its founding ideals of liberty and equality. During this week's 150th commemoration of the battle, we could all do well to be mindful of Lincoln's call for resolve that Gettysburg's dead shall not have died in vain.
July 1, 2013