One hundred and fifty years ago today, President Abraham Lincoln spoke at a ceremony dedicating a portion of the battlefield at Gettysburg, Pa., as a cemetery for some of those who fell in the battle there four and a half months earlier.

That battle, a victory for the Union, was a turning point in the Civil War. Nearly 8,000 soliders died in the battle, and another 27,000 were injured.

Lincoln’s speech, the Gettysburg Address, is just 267 words long, but it is considered among the most important speeches in American history. It carried a message of hope and resolve, and it recast of the idea of America as a land “of the people, by the people, for the people.” There was a time when school children memorized this speech. That’s still a worthy idea.

Lincoln’s speech:

“Fourscore and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.”

“Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation or any nation so conceived and so dedicated can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war.”

“We have come to dedicate a portion of that field as a final resting-place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this. But in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here have consecrated it far above our poor power to add or detract.”

“The world will little note nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living rather to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. 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.”