Two men born on this day
Still reverberate through our collective psyche
One would take simple observation to the edge of scientific discovery
The other would bring himself and his nation to a new level of human awareness
As spelled out by the founding fathers of his country
Thus are the origin of species
And the ending of slavery in the United States
A spark of vision, awareness and understanding
Touched humanity that day
And manifested itself in the form of two men
Both of whom would change history
Both of whom would embark on long journeys
Without knowing where they would be taken
Both of whom believed the truth to be self evident
Both of whom were born on this day
February 12, 1809
I thank the universe
For the words
Of Charles Darwin
And Abraham Lincoln
I went to visit Abe
When I was a child
My father thought it was important
And so, on a trip to Washington DC
We spent a few hours at the memorial
Dedicated to this man
The Immense marble figure
So much bigger than life
Neither brandishing a sword
Nor posing for posterity
Rather seated in a chair
Imbued with kindness
And solemn understanding
I looked into the cold stone eyes
And I could feel it
I still feel it
To this day
I was five years old
But it is not the marble
Or the man
That consoles me now
It is his words
Recorded there in stone
As they are in bronze
In a Pennsylvania cemetery
As a nation struggled to reach a defining moment
After untold hours of oration, argument, declarations
Amidst years of conflict
War death and slaughter
And conflict within himself
He went to the battlefield
To honor the dead
And to speak
Defining the moment
And the Nation
With just 272 words
Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on
this continent a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation, so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure.
We are met on a great battle-field of that war.
We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live.
It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate—we can not consecrate—we can not hallow—this ground.
The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract.
The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here.
It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced.
It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion
That we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain
That this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom
And that government : of the people, by the people, for the people,
shall not perish from the earth