Sunday, December 14, 2008


I was asked to make a few remarks to commemorate the 146th Anniversary of the Battle of Fredericksburg. As a student of history I take every opportunity to stress the importance of understanding our history as we make decisions that will affect our future.
In drafting my remarks I was given the opportunity to reflect on those events 146 years ago and consider how they relate to the issues we now face.

Today there is economic uncertainty at home and turmoil abroad that threatens the ideals on which this country was established. This is not the first time, nor will it be the last, that we as a nation will face such challenges. If there is only one lesson that we can take from our past it is that we will make mistakes, suffer, sacrifice, and even argue amongst ourselves; but in the end we will overcome the challenges put before us.

Here are my remarks commemorating the 146th Anniversary of the Battle of Fredericksburg:

From history lesson can and must be learned. Our history is more than dates, maps, pictures and documents. It is the story of how far we have come as a nation, our success, our failures, and at what cost. It shows us how far we can fall into the depth of great evil such as war and inspire us with examples of great compassion and sacrifice as witnessed by Richard Kirkland’s action, which we honor today.

Today it is our duty to build on the foundation of sacrifice, perseverance, and determination of the generations that came before us, like those who defended this wall and those who crossed these fields 146 years ago; so that we too can pass on to generations to come a nation that is a little closer to achieving the goals set forth by our founding fathers.

These men here today, dressed in blue and gray, are a reminder of the trials we as a nation have faced and overcome. Today is no different from 146 years ago in that this nation still faces great challenges both home and abroad that must be overcome. As 146 years ago we too are called to defend our nation’s ideals and we must do so with the understanding that there may be sacrifices, both great and small, that we may be asked to make.

I would like to end my remarks with a prayer written by a wounded confederate soldier that is as appropriate today as it was when it was first penned. It truly represents the courage, determination, and humility on which this nation was built and provides us with words of wisdom as we embark to face the challenges of today--

I asked God for strength, that I might achieve,
I was made weak, that I might learn humbly to obey....
I asked for health, that I might do greater things,
I was given infirmity, that I might do better things....
I asked for riches, that I might be happy,
I was given poverty, that I might be wise....
I asked for power, that I might have the praise of men,
I was given weakness, that I might feel the need of God....
I asked for all things, that I might enjoy life,
I was given life, that I might enjoy all things....
I got nothing that I asked for -
but everything that I had hoped for,
Almost despite myself, my unspoken prayers were answered.
I am among all men most richly blessed.

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