Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation

Kate Lott

“Four score and seven years ago our fathers…” I hesitated. “B...br...brou…” Mrs. Phipps my fourth grade teacher tried to hint back to my obvious lack of studying. This was so pointless anyway! Why did a ten year old girl need to memorize the whole entire Gettysburg Address? “Oh yeah! Brought forth to the nation...uhh…dedication and...” Mrs. Phipps smiled and gently shook her head. “Why don’t you spend today’s recess going over this again, and we will try once more after lunch?” The sweet old lady suggested. I nodded and avoided eye contact as I walked away trying to hold back my tears of frustration. Now not only did I have to conquer the impossible task of reciting the speech, but I had to miss recess! Why? As a child, the meaning of this great speech slipped through my grasp. Now, eight years later, it is much more clear why this was so important. The words in the Gettysburg Address was exactly what the exhausted army men needed to realize all that they had accomplished and move on. At the time that Abraham Lincoln presented this, the spirits of the soldiers were crushed. Though the union had won the battle, there were many lives lost, lives of comrades, friends, and family. However warfare does not allow time for grieving, and Mr. Lincoln used this speech as a way to honor those who had given their lives, while uplifting the spirits of those who were lucky enough to make it through. Now I understand that it was worth missing recess for one day, to recognize all that this speech stands for.