My vivid recollection of the Gettysburg Address dates back to the years when my children were small. One year, in particular, put the whole town of Milton, Massachusetts in remembrance mode, including the students who participated in the Memorial Day celebration. We all gathered at the Milton Cemetery to pay homage to the war dead. My son played saxophone in the school band. His twin sister, dressed in her Girl Scout uniform, played the flute. And their older sister, who ironically celebrates a birthday today, had the distinction of reciting the Gettysburg Address. That was a proud moment for my family.
That address further anchored Abraham Lincoln as one of the greatest Presidents in history. Not for the length of the speech. It was only 271 words and originally lasted only two minutes long. It followed the two-hour long oratorical speech of Massachusetts’s own Edward Edwards, the main speaker of that historic November day in 1863.
Few remember Edwards’ speech, much less his political contributions of that time. The country remembered Lincoln’s message that commemorated the thousands of men, both Confederate and Union troops, who died in bravery and fear in that sleepy farming community in Pennsylvania in July 1863.
As we celebrate this Memorial Day, let us remember the men and women who died on duty fighting wars to protect America. To help you remember, I have included The Gettysburg Address in this commentary (this is the government version, including strikethroughs).
I also encourage you to visit Gettysburg, Pennsylvania if you haven’t been there since a childhood school field trip. It will make you stop and reflect on the price of freedom.
And please listen to my recent radio interview with Dr. George N’Namdi. His uncle, Lt. Langdon E. Johnson, a Tuskegee Airman, died a hero in World War II when his plane was shot down off the coast of Southern France in 1944.
Here’s the link to last week’s radio program: http://bit.ly/2qjV6jy
Before you stoke up the barbecue grill, pay tribute to the brave men and women who paid the ultimate sacrifice to keep our country free.
We celebrate their lives and their deaths this May 29, 2017, Memorial Day.
Patriots. Citizens. The ones who never came back home.
Transcript of Gettysburg Address (1863)
Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth, upon 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 it, as a final resting place for those who died here, that the nation might live. This we may, in all propriety do. But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate -- we cannot consecrate -- we can not hallow, this ground-- The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have hallowed it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here; while it can never forget what they did here.
It is rather for us, the living, to stand here, we here be dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that, from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they here, gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve these dead shall not have died in vain; that the nation, 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.
For Ticket Information To The October 27th Tuskegee Gala
Email Willie Shellman at firstname.lastname@example.org
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They piloted great airplanes during the critical days of World War II despite the naysayers who declared that black men could not possibly fly. Men of honor and integrity. Men who stared American bred racism and foreign hatred down and fought on anyway. They were the grounds crew. The flight crew. The administrators and leaders of their soldiers. Those who flew the planes. And those who supported or led the squadrons on the ground. And the military and civilian champions following World War II who continue to keep their legacy alive.
This is great American story of the Tuskegee Airmen, whose roots go back 75 years to their beginning in 1941. I am proud to be the daughter of a Tuskegee Airman who bravely served from 1941 to 1946.
As we celebrate Global Diversity Awareness Month throughout October, we salute the 75th Anniversary of the Tuskegee Airmen with our special guest, Willie Shellman.
The New England Chapter of the Tuskegee Airmen will celebrate this great story with a 75th Anniversary Gala set for Thursday October 27th on the Boston Campus of the University of Massachusetts.
History of the Tuskegee Airmen
For More Information visit: www.tuskegeeairmen.org
This is the official organization for the Tuskegee Airmen, Inc.
The term, "Tuskegee Airmen," refers to the men and women, African-Americans and Caucasians, who were involved in the socalled "Tuskegee Experience", the Army Air Corps program to train African Americans to fly and maintain combat aircraft. The Tuskegee Airmen included pilots, radio operators, navigators, bombardiers, aircraft maintenance, support staff, instructors, and all the personnel who kept the planes in the air. Virtually all black military pilots during World War II received their primary flight training at Moton Field and then their basic and advanced flight training at Tuskegee Army Air Field (TAAF).
Tuskegee Airmen, Inc. (TAI) is headquartered in Tuskegee, Alabama (about 35 miles east of Montgomery), where the training of black military pilots during World War II began. There are currently 57 active chapters of TAI located in major cities and military installations throughout the United States.
October is Global Diversity Awareness Month, a celebratory time period I created more than 18 years ago to highlight the importance of expanding your reach beyond your own race, culture or ethnicity.
Click Here To Learn More About Global Diversity Awareness Month
Photo Above Left: Vietnam Veteran and Community Leader Haywood Fennell, Sr.
Focus On Empowerment can be heard every Thursday at 1pm Eastern.
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Today’s program pays tribute to the countless men and women who have served in the US Armed Forces from our Revolutionary past through Iraq and Afghanistan. First observed at the close of World War 1 on November 11, 1919, Veterans Day is the public recognition of honoring those who served their country in times of peace and war.
Joining us on today’s show is Vietnam Veteran Haywood Fennell, Sr. a multi-talented community leader in the Boston area. He will share his own personal military story and will discuss the upcoming African American Art Exhibit and upcoming opening of the Veterans Education and Research Center in Worcester, Massachusetts.
We’ll also pay tribute to the legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen, including men like Second Lieutenant Wilson Albert Copeland, my late father, who served as a Tuskegee Airman from 1941 to 1946. A new film, Double Victory, debuts at the University of Massachusetts - Boston about the Tuskegee Airmen, hosted by Chancellor Keith J. Motley and Oscar winning actor Cuba Gooding, Jr.
About Veterans Day:
World War I – known at the time as “The Great War” - officially ended when the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919, in the Palace of Versailles outside the town of Versailles, France. However, fighting ceased seven months earlier when an armistice, or temporary cessation of hostilities, between the Allied nations and Germany went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. For that reason, November 11, 1918, is generally regarded as the end of “the war to end all wars.”
In November 1919, President Wilson proclaimed November 11 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day with the following words: "To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations…"
Veterans Day continues to be observed on November 11, regardless of what day of the week on which it falls. The restoration of the observance of Veterans Day to November 11 not only preserves the historical significance of the date, but helps focus attention on the important purpose of Veterans Day: A celebration to honor America's veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good.
About The Tuskegee Airmen:
Tuskegee Airmen, Inc. (TAI) is a non-profit organization with 55 chapters nationwide dedicated to:
1. Honoring the accomplishments and perpetuating the history of African-Americans who participated in air crew, ground crew and operations support training in the Army Air Corps during WWII.
2. Introducing young people across the nation to the world of aviation and science through local and national programs such as Young Eagles nd TAI youth programs and activities. 3. Providing annual scholarships and awards to deserving individuals, groups and corporations whose deeds lend support to TAI's goals. TAI also gives awards to deserving cadets in the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps.
For more information, visit their website atwww.tuskegeeairmen.org.
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Carole Copeland Thomas is a 27 year speaker, trainer and consultant specializing in global diversity, empowerment, multiculturalism and leadership issues.