Coffee and Contemplation: Freedom from Fear of Speaking Month

July is Freedom from Fear of Speaking Month. It advocates for people to overcome their fear of public speaking. Having taken acting and speech classes, I’ve had a lot of training on this subject. I know many people have not and many people have a phobia of public speaking. More people fear public speaking than people who fear being killed. Some tips that have helped me and many others with public speaking include; practicing or rehearsing the speech beforehand, be organized, and know and understand the topic you’re speaking about.

I believe there is something else to this concept. If you fear speaking in public, this is a fear that can be overcome and will benefit you for the rest of your life. However, I think it’s time we all took a stand to speak up about the problems in our world. It’s not just fear of public speaking but the fear of speaking up and speaking out. Many terrible people of gotten away with terrible acts because no one spoke out against them. Sometimes the situation is difficult or dangerous. It’s important that we all overcome our fear of speaking about the difficult subjects.

The Gettysburg Address

The Gettysburg Address was delivered on November 19, 1863 at the dedication of the Soldiers’ National Cemetery in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. I believe this speech says more than I ever could about a country divided while fighting a war. That’s how I feel about the United States today in 2020. I believe it is as important now as it was then for us all to preserve our country and it’s unity. We must all keep fighting for justice and equality. I hope these words inspire you as they have inspired me.

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate—we can not consecrate—we can not hallow—this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, 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 did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

~ Abraham Lincoln

Remembering the Battle of Gettysburg

Perhaps the most memorable battle of the Civil War was the Battle of Gettysburg. Fought on July 1-3, 1863 in and around the town of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Many consider this battle the turning point of the Civil War. Prior to this battle the Confederate Army held more victories than the Union Army. General Robert E. Lee’s invasion of the North was halted at Gettysburg. This battle had the largest number of casualties during the entire war. Several films and documentaries were made about the battle with the most popular being Gettysburg (1993) starring Jeff Daniels, Martin Sheen, and Tom Berenger.

Why is it called the turning point of the war when the war continued for two more years? This was the final battle where Lee’s Army conducted strategic offensives. The following day July 4, 1863 was also the fall of Vicksburg, Mississippi. These two Union victories together are considered the turning point of the war. Some have even speculated that if Gettysburg had been a Confederate Victory, this would have ended the war. What some may not realize is the Confederate States of America believed they were preserving the country and the North was rebelling against their way of life.

One year before the Battle of Gettysburg, Mexico was defending itself from France. On May 5, 1862, the Battle of Puebla ended with Mexico defeating the French. Some believe that had the French won at the Battle of Puebla, they would have joined forces with the South during the Civil War. They might have gotten help from England as well. The victory at Puebla protected the integrity of Mexico but may have prevented the South from winning the Civil War. The Battle of Puebla is celebrated, more in the USA than Mexico, as Cinco de Mayo.

The United States is once again in a Civil War and the ideals of both sides remain the same. There are people who believe they are superior to others. And they want to destroy and hurt those other people. Let the Battle of Gettysburg and the Battle of Puebla be a reminder that prejudice, racism, hate speech, forceful control, and white supremacy will always lose. There are petitions and protests against Mexican children being locked up at the United States border. Mexico and one of the United States are fighting the other half. I think we’ll win again. Remember Gettysburg. Remember Puebla.