Today is the 150th anniversary of President Abraham Lincoln’s delivery of his brief speech dedicating the national cemetery for the soldiers who died at the Battle of Gettysburg. It is an elegant statement of eulogy and unity after that battle’s terrible loss of life for both the Union and Confederate sides. These powerful words still resonate across time.
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.
Abraham Lincoln, November 19, 1863
The next time you are called upon to give a eulogy, consider Lincoln’s words and remember that shorter may be better – indeed, words for the ages.
Interview news: Our local PBS station has a weekly news program called New Mexico In Focus. On this past weekend’s show, I was interviewed along with pet loss counselor Ann Beyke about the rising use of social media in sharing grief over both people and pets. You can see the interview online through this link (fast forward 20 minutes into the show).
And if you have access to Blogtalk Radio online today, at 3:00 p.m. ET, I’ll be talking with Audrey Pellicano, R.N., on her Internet radio show, GriefTalk with Audrey. If you want to call-in and talk, the number is (646) 200-3298.
This week’s A Good Goodbye radio show features a discussion with Mary Woodsen, research director for the Green Burial Council, on resource use and environmental impacts of conventional burial and cremation. This program is sponsored by Passages International and www.AGreenerFuneral.org. More information at The Family Plot Blog.
Top Tips from Last Week’s Show
On last week’s A Good Goodbye program, Linda Darby and Jim Kepner with the Funeral and Memorial Information Council (FAMIC) talked about fostering meaningful conversations with family and loved ones. FAMIC’s “Have the Talk of a Lifetime” campaign offers these tips to start talking:
- Look at old family photos and ask questions about the settings and people in the pictures.
- Ask about the best piece of advice received or proudest moment achieved.
- Inquire about lessons learned from difficult times in life.
- Compare your thoughts on favorite songs and types of music while growing up.
- Pose the question: “How do you hope you are remembered?”
Download the podcast through this link.
All Singing, All Dancing: Storytelling in Busby Berkeley Musicals – Film clip talk at Palo Duro Senior Center, Wednesday, December 11 at 9:30 a.m. MORE INFO
It’s a Wonderful Life – Movie Night at FRENCH Funerals-Cremation Wyoming Chapel, Thursday, December 12 at 5:30 p.m.
Albuquerque Death Cafe – Come join the wide-ranging conversation at Sheila’s Sweets on Saturday, December 14 at 2:30 p.m. MORE INFO