It is the rare family who does not have fathers, uncles, cousins, brothers or sisters who served – or are serving – in our armed forces, who have pledged to support and defend the Constitution of the United States,
I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.
Most families have lost loved ones in the line of duty. My family was lucky; all of our soldiers and sailors came home.
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 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.
As I put out my flag today, I will remember all who gave their lives in service to the United States of America, and in defense of their fellow citizens. God bless them.