The Gettysburg Address – Profound Challenge for our Time


Seven score and twelve years ago, on November 19, 1863, Abraham Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address as part of the “Consecration of the National Cemetery at Gettysburg.”

What a timeless, profound speech!  In only 272 words, President Lincoln solemnly honored all who died in battle at that site and challenged the nation to forge forward in the cause of freedom.

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 battlefield 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.

President Lincoln was incorrect in one phrase, “The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here.”

On the contrary, although most have forgotten the 2 hour oration by Edward Everett that preceded President Lincoln’s remarks, the President’s speech has become one of the best known and most often quoted speeches in history.

However, as a society we too often forget President Lincoln’s challenge, which is just as relevant today as it was 152 years ago:

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.

May we never forget that challenge.  May we devote our lives to the preservation of God-given freedom in this wonderful nation!

70 Years Ago Today: Atomic Bomb on Hiroshima

On August 6th each year, my wife and I celebrate our wedding anniversary with great memories of that day and the wondrous life we have spent together. We look forward with soaring anticipation to the rest of lives together in our mortal life and the eternities beyond.

In sharp contrast, we also remember with great sadness the greatest single act of devastation that mankind has poured out on his fellow travelers in the horrible tragedy of war.

The atomic bombs that dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki most likely saved my father’s life. He was on his way to fight in the invasion of Japan, which would most certainly would have been bloody behind belief.  I am grateful that he and his fellow soldiers were spared that experience. But at the same time, my heart mourns for other fathers who did not survive Hiroshima or Nagasaki or the horrific firebombing that preceded these events.

Today I would hope. as we solemnly ponder these photos, that we could unitedly resolve to renounce war and proclaim peace.   

From this vantage point, it seems like just another bomb dropping from the Enola Gay …



… but even from far away, the effects from the bomb are ominous.



Who could have imagined the devastation?



The human effects are too gruesome to post. Just Google “Hiroshima” and look at the images. 

70 Years Ago Today – First Atomic Bomb Test

On July 16, 1946, seventy years ago today, the first Atomic Bomb was detonated in the desert near Alamogordo, New Mexico  This marked a successful step forward in the Manhattan Project and a pivotal point in the terror and triumph of nuclear energy.  A couple of years ago, I read a very interesting and sobering book on the topic, “The Making of the Atomic Bomb.” I highly recommend it.


Mr. Gorbachev, Tear Down That Wall!

Twenty-eight years ago today, on June 12, 1987, President Ronald Reagan issued that stirring challenge to the leader of the Communist world.


On this day in 1987, in one of his most famous Cold War speeches, President Ronald Reagan challenges Soviet Leader Mikhail Gorbachev to “tear down” the Berlin Wall, a symbol of the repressive Communist era in a divided Germany.


As one who grew up,during the Cold War, I was amazed at the rapidity of events which unfolded in the next few years after this speech. The Berlin Wall did fall. The Iron Curtain was shredded. Many people were able to sample their first delicious taste of personal freedom.

We have a long way to go before all the people in the world live in freedom, but that period of time gleams brightly in the history of freedom.

Constitutional Convention Convened

Constitutionalconvention 2

On May 25, 1787, the Constitutional Convention was convened. Subsequently, George Washington was unanimously elected its president.

The Digital Encyclopedia of George Washington stated:

The Convention (also known as the Philadelphia Convention, the Federal Convention, or the Grand Convention at Philadelphia) met in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania from May 14 to September 17.

Delegates gathered to correct the various problems that had arisen while the newly-independent nation was operating under the Articles of Confederation following independence from Great Britain. The historic result of the Convention was the crafting of the United States Constitution.

In a day when so many people are ignoring or seeking to subvert the Constitution to meet the wishes of special interest groups or immoral motives, I am grateful to the founding fathers of the United States who courageously led the process of establishing the Constitution of the United States of America.

In a revelation given to the Prophet Joseph Smith in 1833, the Savior stated,

I established the Constitution of this land, by the hands of wise men whom I raised up unto this very purpose, and redeemed the land by the shedding of blood. (Doctrine & Covenants 101:80)

May we be united in our commitment to uphold and abide by the Constitution.

Big Day for Lindbergh and Earhart!

Today is the anniversary of two great events in aviation history.  On May 21, 1927, Charles Lindbergh landed in Paris, successfully completing the first solo, nonstop flight across the Atlantic ocean.  Five years later, on May 21, 1932, Amelia Earhart became the first pilot to repeat the feat, landing her plane in Ireland after flying across the North Atlantic.

Congratulations to these brave pioneers of the air!


Both Lindberg’s Spirit of St. Louis and Earhart’s Lockheed Vega airplanes are now housed in the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC.

Spirit St Louis 590

Lockheed Vega 5b Smithsonian


State of Israel Proclaimed


On May 14, 1948, in Tel Aviv, David Ben-Gurion, shown standing beneath a portrait of Theodor Herzi, one of the fathers of modern political Zionism, proclaims the State of Israel, establishing the first modern Jewish state.  

Now, 67 years later, Israel remains the only nation in the middle east with a democratically elected government.

I have been privileged to visit Israel twice, in 1991 and 2000.  I consider those visits significant highlights of my life.

Lewis and Clark Expedition

On May 14, 1804, 211 years ago today, the Lewis and Clark expedition, departed St. Louis in route to the west coast of what is now the United States.


From Wikipedia:

The Lewis and Clark Expedition, also known as the Corps of Discovery Expedition, was the first American expedition to cross what is now the western portion of the United States, departing in May 1804, from near St. Louis on the Mississippi River, making their way westward through the continental divide to the Pacific coast.

The expedition was commissioned by President Thomas Jefferson shortly after the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, consisting of a select group of U.S. Army volunteers under the command of Captain Meriwether Lewis and his close friend Second Lieutenant William Clark. Their perilous journey lasted from May 1804 to September 1806.

The expedition returned to St. Louis on September 23, 1806, bringing much information about the newly purchased territory, as well as establishing claims to the Oregon Territory.

It is interesting to note that Sacagawea, who served as an interpreter and guide for the Expedition, was of the Lemhi Shoshone tribe, which was one tribes that played a key part in the history of Southern Idaho, where I grew up.  The town of Shoshone, Idaho, was located about 15 miles away from my boyhood home.

Transcontinental Railroad Completed

On May 10, 1869, the presidents of the Union Pacific and Central Pacific railroads meet in Promontory, Utah  and drive a ceremonial “Golden Spike” into a rail line that connected their railroads, providing a link between the eastern and western United States.



One year into the Civil War, a Republican-controlled Congress passed the Pacific Railroad Act (1862), guaranteeing public land grants and loans to the two railroads it chose to build the transcontinental line, the Union Pacific and the Central Pacific. With these in hand, the railroads began work in 1866 from Omaha and Sacramento, forging a northern route across the country. …

For all the adversity they suffered, the Union Pacific and Central Pacific workers were able to finish the railroad–laying nearly 2,000 miles of track–by 1869, ahead of schedule and under budget. Journeys that had taken months by wagon train or weeks by boat now took only days. Their work had an immediate impact: The years following the construction of the railway were years of rapid growth and expansion for the United States, due in large part to the speed and ease of travel that the railroad provided.