[In honor of President Lincoln’s birthday and teachers everywhere]
Last week and every other week your students brought forth on their assignments, a new grammar, conceived in Laziness, and dedicated to the pure delusion that all words are created equal.
Now we are engaged in a great Grammar War, testing whether our style rules, or any style rules so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great Guide to Style of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of this guide, as a Teaching Honor Ground for those who still teach the rules so that our language does thrive. 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 guide. The brave souls, living and dead, who soldiered on, 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 learned here.
It is for us the thinking, rather, to be dedicated here to the yeoman’s work that they who teach this have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from those honored here we take increased devotion to that cause for which they give the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these teachers shall not have taught in vain — that this language, bound by rules, shall have a new birth of syntax — and that fine writing of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.