The following is a transcript of Walter Carrington’s January 20, 2014 reading of an excerpt from Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, as part of Amalia Pica’s Now, Speak! installation. Walter Carrington is a former US ambassador to Nigeria.
WALTER CARRINGTON: 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. We are met on a great battlefield of that war.
We have come to dedicate a 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, for the brave men, living and dead, who struggled here have consecrated it far above our poor power to add or detract.
The world may 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 to the unfinished work, which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is for us here to be dedicated to the task remaining before us, that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to the cause for which they gave their last full measure of devotion, that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain. And 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.