Music blares from the truck radio, falling out of the driver’s seat and into the cool night. Between the army blankets and sagging lawn chairs we sit in a strip mall parking lot, looking up at the pale night sky; a background beyond the city lights. Off in the distance rockets burst, flares explode, and sparks shower and echo out of the dark blue. The colors are sharp and titillating dancing before us. Ghosts from the past repeat hallowed words from our History: President Kennedy: “We choose these things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard.” President Roosevelt: “Yesterday, December 7th, 1941, a date which will live in infamy.” Mr. Armstrong: “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” A BBC Broadcaster: “Today, two planes descended on New York and crashed into the World Trade Center.” President Jefferson: “We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal.” President Kennedy: “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” Mr. Kronkite: “Today, the United States President John F. Kennedy was shot.” Dad leans toward me and whispers into my ear, “I remember that day, where I was, what I was doing, as if it were yesterday.” I look at him. I just look into his eyes.
The sky reverbrates, and so do our hearts. No lives have ever gone before that have been given so much. No price so high has ever been paid to secure their bounties. We continue listening and watching the vibrant display. Red streaks downward like bloody stripes. White sparkles outward like new constellations born into the sky. Blue showers erupt upwards, like a roaring, majestic waterfall. Up in the sky we see the symbol of our freedom, justice and liberty. It proudly waves down upon us.
We stayed until the very end. Every second we relished, like we should relish every second we are free. By God or by man, America is nothing less than a miracle.
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.” -The Gettysburg Address