Author's Note: I don't know how accurate this is. Contains Lincoln's Gettysburg Address.

Our Solemn Hour

~A Story of the Battle of Gettysburg~

I leave my home trailing behind my family. We are solemn. Although everyone else in our town is celebrating the day in red, white, and blue, we are not. We are dressed in nothing but black.

Although everyone is excited to see Mr. Lincoln, we are not. Today is the day we have been dreading.

Today is the day that the Memorial Association has been preparing for many months.

Today is the day that David McConaughy and David Wills have been waiting for.

Today, November 19, `1863, Mr. Lincoln will dedicate the National Cemetery for the soldiers who were killed in the battle.

We reach the location, the piece of land which would now been known as the Gettysburg National Soldiers' Cemetery. I am in a daze. People all around us are to hear Mr. Lincoln. I just wish that it was over.

"ROSE!" my mother snaps.

I snap out of my daze and run to catch up with my family. We join the waiting crowd.

It seems like forever, but later I learn that is was only twenty minutes, for Mr. Lincoln to talk. When he steps up to begin his speech, the noise is louder than that of the cannons that had fired this past summer.

Everyone is excited to see Mr. Lincoln, but we are not.

We did not come to listen to the other speaker. We were not going to come at all, but Father had insisted that we do. He said that it would be a "once in a lifetime chance."

So, for Father, we came.

After several minutes, the citizens quieted down and Mr. Lincoln began to speak.

"Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth up this continent , a new nation, conceived, and the dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal."

If all men are created equal, then why does it seem like we are the only ones suffering today? Why does everyone else seem to be excited? Why, why, why?

So many questions, so few answers.

"Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation or any nation so conceived, 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."

I look over at Mother and Father. Both have their arms wrapped around each other in a tight embrace. Both have tears running down their faces.

I long to join them, but I cannot bring myself to. I want to leave them alone in their private grief.

Just as they had left me to grieve.

"But, in a larger sense, we cannot delicate-we cannot consecrate-we cannot hallow-this ground. The brave, men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, for 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."

I freeze. How can people forget what happened here? I know I never will.

This is getting harder and harder. I wish that we had never come.

"It is for the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have this far nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us-that from these honoured 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 this earth!"

The crowd roars.

I find myself crying once again. Today made the truth come back. Today made me face reality once again.

I stare at the field knowing the hard truth.

My brother, Will, is not coming home. He is out there, buried among all of those who gave their lives.


The Last Full Measure by Ann Rinaldi

My America: My Brother's Keeper by Mary Pope Osborne