"...Shall Not Perish From This Earth."

It has been a tough news weekend for the United States.

I've been blocking out news coverage today and cringing every time I hear a partisan or pundit prognosticate about the decline of America, or our supposed shuffle closer to doomsday.

My heart breaks hard every time I think about the selfless men and women we lost in Afghanistan this weekend. Brothers and sisters alike, it seems almost trivial to sit here tonight and type–a freedom they have won for me–while so many are facing grim realities and long, tense moments of combat half a world away.

It's easy to lose focus of who you are and what you stand for in times like these.

Tonight, I'm reminded of a famous speech given by a wartime American president from Illinois (emphasis added):

“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.”

It is easy to cower in the face of disappointment or unspeakable tragedy, to cave to the demands of those playing the temporary game of political opportunism. In these times, we should not forget who we are:

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