by Dan Balow
One hundred and fifty years ago this fall, President Abraham Lincoln delivered his famous Gettysburg Address on the site of the battle that turned the tide of the American Civil War. It was 270 words and took two minutes to deliver.
Not as memorable was the 13,600-word oratory by American statesman Edward Everett that lasted for two hours prior to Lincoln’s epic speech. In fact, the program for that November 19, 1863 event consisted of eight elements…four songs, two prayers, Everett’s speech and a few words from the President.
History elevated those two minutes by the President to some of the greatest words ever spoken. The rest of the program is all but forgotten.
Recently I was in an airport terminal waiting to board a flight and the well-intentioned airline employee picked up the really bad microphone and began explaining the boarding procedure for my flight in tremendous detail.
Fifteen minutes later (I am not kidding, I timed it) the announcement was finished.