Rising to the Occasion
I am too nervous to be felled by anxiety right now. I wish I had some cornbread with a little honey-butter, something I used to get when I was a child, growing up. I would slather it up with my pocketknife, and I would make it last for a while then, on a summer eve; how sweet was life, how simple.
Being a child was delightful. All one had to worry about were chores around the farm, and once one was done with those, one was free to run with friends, to swim in lakes, and fish in rivers, then read some. I loved when I had time to read a good book.
Shakespeare was right — heavy is the head that wears a crown. I’m scarcely hungry any more, I barely sleep. Lately, I spend no time with my family. And I am in a bit of pain all the time. I must never show it, always appearing stoic and confident — hearty and hale, full of good cheer and full of hope. I thank God Almighty that my crown is only temporary, unlike those of the English monarchy.
I am thirsty now. My mouth feels dry, as if the wind has sucked all the moisture out of it, although I have scarcely opened it today. And I am cold. It seems I have not been warm for the past two years, and no amount of fire or my fine wife’s tenderness can warm me. This gloomy, dark November day is pressing down on my very soul. I feel in my tired bones that I shall not be warm again until I shall be laid to my final rest.
Such melancholy thoughts. But they are wholly appropriate for this spot. I wish to taste the sweetness of childhood again, to run barefoot — to run away from this evil acrimony that surrounds me, but I cannot abdicate my duties. I cannot shirk my heavy burden to carry. There is too much at stake.
This pompous fool has been speaking for hours. Maybe it is his wind that has sucked us all dry. Thankfully, it seems he is finally winding down.
And now, it is my turn. It is my duty. I rise to do what I must. I must be strong, and I must lead. I can only say these words I have written — words I wrote from my heart — to honor these men, and I hope those remaining will continue to have faith in our cause — an almost impossible task.
“Four score 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. …”