But the words do not honor just the dead of Gettysburg. The phrase has come to be used to honor Americans who gave their life for their country, their community, their home.
Mike Barnacle, the Boston Globe columnist, used Lincoln's phrase to honor the 19 firefighters who dies fighting a fire in Arizona last week. The 4:23 video gives a short synopsis of each of the brave young men who died giving their last full measure of devotion.
We are thinking of those men on this Fourth of July.
The Declaration of Independence famously states Jefferson's immortal phrase: "We hold these truths to be self evident, That all men are created equal. . ."
But when it comes to bravery, not all men are equal.