Opinion | Sandra Pfeifer: Strolling collectively in Illinois | Columnists

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Opinion | Sandra Pfeifer: Walking together in Illinois | Columnists

The entire mission took 28 days, with Glenn and Jo marching in three counties a day. 

The how and the why of a democracy is founded in its citizens and their active participation. A strong democracy forces us to think in common and act in common, all for the greater good. Democracies flourish only when populations are not divided and a strong democracy can transform conflict.

Glenn Poshard has studied our country’s greatest leaders, what they said and when they said it, in troubled times and in times of transitions, and their words have always inspired him. This historical knowledge brought a special component to the marches. He rewarded the marchers at every stop by reciting, by heart, important speeches from Abraham Lincoln, John F. Kennedy and the Founding Fathers with the stature of a great orator.

In particular, the address President Abraham Lincoln delivered on Nov. 19, 1863 on the battlefield near Gettysburg, Pennsylvania gave people a sign of hope, when so many had lost it. Glenn recited the entire speech, all 272 words, at every march, clearly moving his audience, evidenced by pin-drop silence. 

The importance of the Gettysburg Address is profound, and its relevance for us today can hardly be ignored … it not only contains a nearly perfect description of our democracy, “government of the people, by the people, for the people,” but also reminds us that moral force can bring a divided nation together, and that “it is rather for us, the living” to do that work.

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