Gettysburg: The field where Abraham Lincoln uttered some of the most famous words in the American lexicon. And the site of a casino and 600-acre quarry? Maybe so.
Urban sprawl is encroaching on the hallowed grounds of Gettysburg, according to a story in today's the Christian Science Monitor, and only 80% of the 6,000-acre battlefield shrine is protected federal land. The land rush of the early 21st century fueled a new era of sprawl, which encroaches on significant historical and natural sites across the country.
Communities around the country are working on policies that will encourage growth in existing cities and villages, where public transportation is available and schools, work and shopping are close by. That allows outlying open areas -- whether they be forests, farms or historic sites -- to remain intact. Few sites match Gettysburg's importance in American history.
For those who can't immediately recall the profound gravity enshrined in that place, we reprint here Lincon's address, the brevity of which was ahead of its time, and the beauty of which has been unmatched by politicians since.
Fourscore 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 cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot 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.
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