Pop recently attended a leadership institute in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania and I was blessed to tag along.
Neither of us had been there before and it was truly amazing. The Battle of Gettysburg came to life for us. Pop is a bit of a history buff but a love of history eluded me when I was a kid...it just never seemed to stick. I always learned enough to pass the tests in school but it wasn't meaningful to me. Gettysburg changed me...history came alive while we were there. It wasn't a reenactment of the battle that brought it to life. Instead it was brought to life by Abraham Lincoln and a young woman named Jennie Wade.
We lived in Charleston, SC for about four years and heard how some folks there still call the Civil War "The War of Northern Aggression". I always knew there were people who still fly the Confederate flag but I thought it was just for fun. I had no idea that there are people who don't hold to the notion that "all men are created equal and are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights" as our Country's constitution states.
As I pondered the historical events of 1863, I became convinced that President Lincoln's motivation was love for his fellow man and his heart's desire was for our Country to be unified. In spite of much opposition, he held firm to his belief that slavery was wrong. He was a wise man and the words of his Gettysburg Address are powerful even today. I didn't retain from my girlhood history lessons that Lincoln's speech on November 19, 1863 was part of a ceremony commemorating a burial place for the soldiers who gave their lives that others might know freedom. He must have been heavily burdened as he led the Union during war time. The weight of all the men who died surely rested squarely on his shoulders.
Then there was Jennie Wade - the only civilian who was killed during the Battle of Gettysburg. She was shot by a sharpshooter's rifle through two wooden doors as she was making biscuits for some Union soldiers. I toured the house where she died and learned that in her devotion that morning, she prayed a prayer asking God that if anyone had to die in their house that day, she wanted it to be her.
Abraham Lincoln was the right man, in the right place, at the right time to ensure freedom for all in this great country. Jennie Wade was also where she was meant to be - feeding soldiers. Both of these people are heroes in my mind - both motivated by LOVE for their fellow man - both died having fulfilled God's purpose for their lives.
I know there are many other "players" in the drama of war whose hearts were and are pure...whose motivation was and is love...who unselfishly gave and are giving of themselves. I am grateful.
John 15:13 "Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends."