“Eleven score and eleven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that, in their elevation above Nature, and their struggle to master it, all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that proposition, or any such project, so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field as a monument to those creatures who here and across the globe have been sacrificed to this tragic cause.
But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate, we can not consecrate, we can not hallow-this ground. Countless speechless creatures, indeed species beyond number, whose like we will not see again, have consecrated it with their blood, far above our poor power to add or detract. The earth will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it must never forget the tragedy and the suffering to which we here bear witness. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to healing the harm that our predecessors, with the best will in the world, so confidently advanced.
It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us – that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave their lives – that we here highly resolve that these living beings, human and non-human, shall not have died in vain – that this nation, under Gaia, shall have a new, more embracing, more generous birth of freedom, and that the earth shall not perish by a myopic government of the human, by the human, for the human.” [DCW/2008]