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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 the last full measure of devotion that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

By changing only a handful of words throughout Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, the address can still be relevant to modern times. By honoring those who have gone before us and those who have given the last full measure of devotion in support and defense of this nation, we can rise up to meet their sacrifices and restore hope in our mighty American Dream.

There are a great many problems facing this nation today. There are a great many people around the world who would wish ill on this nation today. And there are a great many reasons to feel all hope is lost.

But the most wonderful aspect about our nation is that the United States is more than tangible things. It’s more than bricks and mortar. It’s more than the computers, the corn fields, and the cars that all sustain the material world we know.

America is about people, about resiliency, about ideas. Yes, we are today experiencing rough times both at home and abroad. We look into the past and see golden times and then look at what we have today and see downtrodden times. But the beauty that is American is in the American Dream. The real bricks and mortar of America is an idea. The idea of equality; the idea of success; the idea of hope. Hope that one day things will get better.

When the nation gets lost in the woods, the idea returns us to a safe path. When we are wandering aimlessly looking for the light switch, the idea shows us the light. The idea reasons with us that no matter how bad things are or how bad we think things will become, the American Dream is bigger than any one person or any one problem.

Evil-doers may destroy buildings, cars, forests, markets, or houses, but they cannot destroy the American Dream. The dream goes on. And that’s what makes this country great.

Happy Independence Day.

(Photo: Andrea Church / MorgueFile)