this stormy present
occasion is piled high
Again and again I keep coming back to Abraham Lincoln’s 1862 Annual Address to Congress when he wrote ( and I saw wrote as the speech, now known as the State of the Union, was not delivered by the President in person until Woodrow Wilson first did it in 1913) so this speech was read to Congress by a clerk.
Mr. Lincoln closed this address with these words.
The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present.
The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise with the occasion.
As our case is new, so we must think anew, and act anew.
We must disenthrall ourselves, and then we shall save our country.
Fellow-citizens, we cannot escape history.
We of this Congress and this administration, will be remembered in spite of ourselves.
No personal significance, or insignificance, can spare one or another of us.
The fiery trial through which we pass, will light us down, in honor or dishonor, to the latest generation.
We say we are for the Union.
The world will not forget that we say this.
We know how to save the Union.
The world knows we do know how to save it.
We, even we here, hold the power, and bear the responsibility.
In giving freedom to the slave, we assure freedom to the free — honorable alike in what we give, and what we preserve.
We shall nobly save or meanly lose the last best hope of earth.
Other means may succeed; this could not fail.
The way is plain, peaceful, generous, just — a way which if followed, the world will forever applaud, and God must forever bless.