American Rhetoric: Movie Speech

"Saving Private Ryan" (1998)

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General George C. Marshall Reads Abraham Lincoln's Letter

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Marshall:  I have a letter here, written a long time ago to a Mrs. Bixby in Boston. So bear with me.

Dear Madam,

I have been shown in the files of the War Department a statement of the Adjutant General of Massachusetts that you are the mother of five sons who have died gloriously on the field of battle.

I feel how weak and fruitless must be any words of mine that would attempt to beguile you from the grief of a loss so overwhelming. But I cannot refrain from tendering to you the consolation that may be found in the thanks of the Republic they died to save.

I pray that our Heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement, and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved, lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom.

Yours, very sincerely and respectfully,

Abraham Lincoln

The boy's alive.

We are going to send somebody to find him.

And we are going to get him the hell out of there.

Staff: Yes, sir....

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