Exactly 149 years ago, on November 19, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln delivered "a few appropriate remarks" at the dedication of Soldiers' National Cemetery in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. From a platform set some distance away from the ongoing burial operations, Lincoln addressed a crowd of 15,000 people.
The president spoke for three minutes. His speech contained just 272 words, including the observation that the "world will little note, nor long remember what we say here." Yet Lincoln's Gettysburg Address endures. In the view of historian James McPherson, it stands as "the world's foremost statement of freedom and democracy and the sacrifices required to achieve and defend them."
To learn more about Lincoln's powerful short speech, see Facts and Myths About the Gettysburg Address.
Image: Lincoln at Gettysburg: The Words that Remade America by Garry Wills (Simon & Schuster, 1992)