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[206] They faltered not who stood that day
And held this post of dread;
Nor cowards they who wore the gray
Until the gray was red.

For every wreath the victor wears
The vanquished half may claim;
Every monument declares
A common pride and fame.

We raise no altar stones to Hate,
Who never bowed to Fear:
No province crouches at our gate,
To shame our triumph here.

Here standing by a dead wrong's grave
The blindest now may see,
The blow that liberates the slave
But sets the master free!

When ills beset the nation's life
Too dangerous to bear,
The sword must be the surgeon's knife,
Too merciful to spare.

O Soldier of our common land,
'Tis thine to bear that blade
Loose in the sheath, or firm in hand,
But ever unafraid.

When foreign foes assail our right,
One nation trusts to thee—
To wield it well in worthy fight—
The sword of Meade and Lee!

John Burns of Gettysburg

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