"On the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg, letters written by soldiers recall the profundities of loyalty and sacrifice."
"It’s not just love of country that impels him, but a feeling of indebtedness to the past: 'I know how strongly American Civilization now leans upon the triumph of the Government, and how great a debt we owe to those who went before us through the blood and suffering of the Revolution. And I am willing — perfectly willing — to lay down all my joys in this life, to help maintain this Government, and to pay that debt.'
These letter writers, and many of the men at Gettysburg, were not just different than most of us today because their language was more high flown and earnest. There was probably also a greater covenantal consciousness, a belief that they were born in a state of indebtedness to an ongoing project, and they would inevitably be called upon to pay these debts, to come square with the country, even at the cost of their lives.
Makes today’s special interest politics look kind of pathetic."