Advocate Magazine
Subscribe To
The Advocate

READ: Obama Marks Gettysburg Address With Handwritten, Gay-Inclusive Letter

READ: Obama Marks Gettysburg Address With Handwritten, Gay-Inclusive Letter

In a clear homage to another history-making president from Illinois, Barack Obama penned a handwritten, 272-word letter commending the "toil and sacrifice" from generations of Americans to advance the equality of women, workers, minorities, and yes, even gay people.

The letter was published by the White House Tuesday, marking the 150th anniversary of Lincoln's historic Gettysburg Address. President Obama reflected on the nation's foundational belief in "the proposition that all men are created equal," noting that the march toward equality has been advanced "through the accumulated toil and sacrifice of ordinary men and women."

"Through cold war and world war, through industrial revolutions and technological transformations, through movements for civil rights and women’s rights and workers rights and gay rights, we have," wrote Obama. "At times, social and economic change have strained our union. But Lincoln’s words give us confidence that whatever trials avail us, this nation and the freedom we cherish can, and shall, prevail."

Read the full text of Obama's letter on the next page, and see the handwritten letter below. 

Potus Gettysburgx633

Read the full text of Obama's letter on the following page. 

Text of President Obama's Letter Commemorating 150th Anniversary of Gettysburg Address:

In the evening, when Michelle and the girls have gone to bed, I sometimes walk down the hall to a room Abraham Lincoln used as his office. It contains an original copy of the Gettysburg Address, written in Lincoln’s own hand.
I linger on these few words that have helped define our American experiment: “a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.”

Through the lines of weariness etched in his face, we know Lincoln grasped, perhaps more than anyone, the burdens required to give these words meaning. He knew that even a self evident truth was not self executing; that blood drawn by the lash was an affront to our ideals; that blood drawn by the sword was in painful service to those same ideals.

He understood as well that our humble efforts, our individual ambitions, are ultimately not what matter; rather, it is through the accumulated toil and sacrifice of ordinary men and women — those like the soldiers who consecrated that battlefield — that this country is built, and freedom preserved. This quintessentially self made man, fierce in his belief in honest work and the striving spirit at the heart of America, believed that it falls to each generation, collectively, to share in that toil and sacrifice.

Through cold war and world war, through industrial revolutions and technological transformations, through movements for civil rights and women’s rights and workers rights and gay rights, we have. At times, social and economic change have strained our union. But Lincoln’s words give us confidence that whatever trials avail us, this nation and the freedom we cherish can, and shall, prevail.

READER COMMENTS ()