With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation’s wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just, and lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations.
Read the entire address from 1865, forty days before his assassination. It’s a point in time when our country was undergoing the difficult reckoning and grief of 600,000 lost in the Civil War and the fight to end slavery. His speech gets after the essentials that there are great costs in standing up for what is right. Lincoln was against penalties for the Southern states, instead seeking to forge bonds of reconciliation and peace. Instead of political infighting and angry, chaotic protests, we should find ways to model nonviolence to our children, in our families, schools, and communities.
Photo of Lincoln Memorial from Gage Skidmore on flikr. Creative Commons Sharealike License.