Editor, Times-Union:
One hundred fifty years ago near Gettysburg, Penn., the President of the United States rose to give a speech after a two-hour oration by Edward Everett.
Abraham Lincoln spoke for three minutes to the crowd of over 15,000, on Nov. 19, 1863, noting that the words of that day may not be remembered. The gathering's response was muted, probably due to surprise at the brevity of the speech.
Seeing the reaction, Lincoln remarked to a companion: "It is a flat failure and the people are disappointed." But those words have encapsulated the ideals of the American experiment of democracy and tribute to those willing to pay with their lives for autonomy.
The Gettysburg Address speaks to us today as a voice from the past reminding us of those principles established by our founders.  The conclusion of the speech declares, “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.”
We have made great strides in this nation over 150 years, especially in civil rights and still have a long way to go. Many Americans have died to protect our independence here and around the world. Lincoln reminds us that freedom isn’t free.
But our “civil war” today is a struggle against forces trying to remove God and the foundation of our Judeo-Christian heritage. Abraham speaks not as a martyred icon but a prophet to our land in the 21st Century.  Liberty is granted each generation by our Creator and secured by a people who endow limited powers to the government.
If we remove our trust in God and permit an authority to run every facet of our lives we shall certainly perish and return to the shackles of despotism.  The hope in the message is a birth of freedom as we restore those values.  The choice is ours.   
Take a moment to read Lincoln’s words on this 150th anniversary.  Pray for America.  It’s still legal in most situations, for now.
Ken Locke
Warsaw, via email