On Thursday, Nov. 14, the Michigan House of Representatives adopted the following resolution. Appropriate, poignant, beautifully written, it extols the underlying sacrifice that Lincoln spoke of nearly 150 years ago:
Reps. Darany, Barnett, Brown, Crawford, Denby, Driskell, Durhal, Geiss, Heise, Howrylak, Kelly, Lamonte, LaVoy, O'Brien, Roberts, Slavens and Stanley offered the following resolution:
House Resolution No. 270.
A resolution to commemorate the 150th anniversary of President Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address of November 19, 1863.
Whereas, It was one hundred and fifty years ago on the afternoon of November 19, 1863, that Abraham Lincoln, sixteenth President of these United States delivered what has been noted as one of the most eloquent speeches in the annals of American oratory. Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address was delivered at the dedication of the Soldiers National Cemetery, established in the aftermath of the bloody battle of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania July 1-3, 1863. Almost five thousand men from the Great Lakes State fought on that hallowed ground and over one thousand Michiganians became combat casualties in the horrific battle; and
Whereas, Thirteen regiments and units from Michigan participated in the great struggle on the charred battlefield of Gettysburg and the blood of Michigan men and boys helped to make that ground sacred. From the 16th Michigan Infantry’s defense of Little Round Top, where the regiment’s colors were shot from the staff and fell “enveloping the fallen with their silken folds like a funeral pall”, to Battery I of the First Michigan Light Artillery Regiment and the 7th Infantry’s defense against Pickett’s charge on Cemetery Ridge where their commander, Lieutenant Colonel Amos Steele of Mason, Michigan died, to the Michigan Cavalry Brigade’s heroic fight on the extreme right of the union line, where their commander Brigadier General George Armstrong Custer of Monroe, Michigan led his men into battle by extorting them to “Come on you wolverines”; and
Whereas, We also recognize and honor the 3rd Michigan Infantry’s defense of the Peach Orchard, the 5th Infantry’s stubborn defiance in the woods near the wheat field, the 4th Infantry’s tenacious hold of the wheat field, where their colonel, Harrison Jeffords of Dexter, Michigan died by bayonet while defending the colors of the regiment, at the loop between the wheat field and the Emmitsburg road the First Michigan fought with valor. We also remember the four companies of Michigan sharpshooters who fought and bravely died with Berdan’s U.S. sharpshooters at the wheat field and Little Round Top; and
Whereas, We must also pay tribute to the tremendous sacrifice paid by the Wayne county boys of the 24th Michigan of the famed Iron Brigade. Of the more than 400 union regiments engaged at Gettysburg, the 24th had the distinction of suffering among the highest casualties, by the end of the battle 80% of the regiment had been killed, wounded, or were listed as missing in action, including 9 men who died carrying the colors of the regiment; and
Whereas, These few, simple, and admittedly meager words shall not resurrect from the cold, shallow, hastily dug, graves of Pennsylvania, the flower of Michigan’s long ago martyred youth. However, by remembering these “honored dead” we can, in some small way, make their sacrifice worth the immeasurable price that was paid. Perhaps by paying homage to the words that President Abraham Lincoln said there we can honor “what they did there” and in the words of the great emancipator, remember those boys in blue, including those from the peninsular state, who “gave the last full measure of devotion”; now, therefore, be it
Resolved by the House of Representatives, That the members of this legislative body commemorate the 150th anniversary of President Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address of November 19, 1863. We also honor the sacrifice made by the 90,000 Michigan soldiers and sailors who fought in the Civil War, and the 15,000 Michigan men who lost their lives, including those who were casualties on the battlefield of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. We declare “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”.