the last full measure of devotion
I've recently learned from many of my students that public schools no longer require them to memorize things like the preamble to the Declaration of Independence or the Gettysburg Address. Aside from the inevitable decline in reasoning skills that can most certainly be directly traced to the lack of reading well-reasoned arguments and learning only to fill in bubbles on standardized tests that plagues this generation, this means that my students have missed out on reading and hearing some of the great, poetic foundational documents of their country.
Today is the 200th anniversary of the births of Abraham Lincoln and Charles Darwin. Here at the Private Christian U at which I adjunct teach, there's a podium set up at one of the places on campus that everybody crosses. At the podium, there's a professor in a stovepipe hat giving periodic recitations of some of Lincoln's great orations. (I can't imagine why they aren't reading from On the Origin of Species.) It takes a nerd like me to believe that that's pretty neat, but there you go. I still know many of the speeches I had to learn in the third grade by heart (and how long it took me to get "we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow this ground"in the right order.), and I'd like to think that even if the students won't know those words in the same way, at least they'll get to hear them as they were meant to be heard.
For those of you who can't be here today , here's a bit of my favorite: