Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation

Kathleen H. Wheeler

Five score and seven years ago a German physician discovered on this planet, a new disease, shrouded in mystery, and dedicated to the destruction of people otherwise considered healthy. Now we are faced with an epidemic, testing whether this nation, or the world so besieged and unprepared, can long endure. We are stalled on the medical battlefield of this war. We have strived to learn more about this killer, to provide treatment options from the study of those who here gave their lives that others might one day be cured. It is altogether urgent and necessary for us to do this. But, in a greater context, we cannot wait—we cannot delay —we cannot underestimate—this endeavor. The poor souls, now and in the future, who struggle with this illness, have warranted it, far more than our helplessness in watching them suffer. The world will little note, nor long remember our fallen loved ones, but it must conquer the disease that claimed their lives. It is for us the living, rather to be dedicated to the unfinished work which they who succumbed here have thus far so bravely endured without any hope. It is rather for us to be committed to the great task remaining before us—that from these stricken dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they had no means to defend—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this world, under God, shall find remedies and a cure—and that no one shall ever again perish from the death sentence known as Alzheimer’s disease. Now is the time.