POLITICAL SPEECH, ADDRESS AT THE ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION OF THE BATTLE OF BENNINGTON

 

August 16, 1877

Bennington, Vermont

 

I need not say to you that I am grateful for this greeting.  I am greatly obliged to those who had charge of this celebration for their courtesy in giving me an opportunity to enjoy with them the ceremonies of this day.  I am quite sure none of us will ever forget its occurrence, the notable event—the battle of Bennington—so great an event toward national independence.  I am sure we feel it has been fitly celebrated today.  Only think of the procession that we beheld an hour or two ago—the citizen-soldiers so disciplined, soldiers from Vermont, from Connecticut, from Massachusetts and New Hampshire were here.  But more touching than all the long procession, were the veterans of the Union Army, the survivors of the 1200 battles that saved the nation and made liberty throughout the world forever possible.  And what eye was not dimmed, as we saw proudly walking with his friends, that maimed soldier walking with his crutch?

 

But, my dear friends, I must not detain you.  I recognize that among the pages of the speech to which we have listened, packed full, as each page was, with interesting matter touching on that great event of 100 years ago, that no one fact in it was more valuable than this, that 100 years ago it was meritorious to be a minute-man, to fight in the cause of independence.  Is there not some merit in my becoming a minute-man?