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1948 3c Gettysburg Address - Catalog # 978

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U.S. #978
1948 3¢ Gettysburg Address 
Issue Date: November 19, 1948
City: Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
Quantity: 63,388,000
Printed By: Bureau of Engraving and Printing
Printing Method: Rotary Press
Perforations:  11 x 10 ½
Color: Bright blue
 U.S. #978 was issued on the 85th anniversary of President Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. Considered one of the greatest speeches in U.S. history, it is more remarkable compared to the events of the day.
In 1863, local Gettysburg attorney David Willis was the driving force behind establishing a nationally funded cemetery to bury the soldiers who died in the battle. To honor the occasion, Willis invited Edward Everett, a famous public speaker, to give the oration. Over a month later, Willis sent an invitation to the White House to ask President Lincoln to “formerly set aside these grounds to their sacred use by a few appropriate remarks.” Lincoln agreed.
Everett spoke first, delivering a two-hour speech that contained 13,607 words. In contrast, Lincoln’s speech was just 10 sentences – 271 words. He spoke for a little over two minutes. It was enough time to earn a permanent place in American lore.
The following day, Everett congratulated Lincoln, saying, “I should be glad if I could flatter myself that I came as near to the central idea of the occasion, in two hours, as you did in two minutes.” Lincoln replied in a letter, “I am pleased to know that, in your judgment, the little I did say was not entirely a failure.” 
The Gettysburg Address
November 19, 1863
 “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.”

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