VIDEO: Today's Headline News from Associated Press

LINCOLN'S SPEECH LONG REMEMBERED

 

GETTYSBURG, Pa. (AP) -- In solemnity, thousands gathered at a central Pennsylvania battlefield park Tuesday to honor a speech given 150 years ago that President Abraham Lincoln predicted would not be long remembered.

 

The inspirational and famously short Gettysburg Address was praised for reinvigorating national ideals of freedom, liberty and justice amid a Civil War that had torn the country into pieces.

 

"President Lincoln sought to heal a nation's wounds by defining what a nation should be," said Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett, calling Lincoln's words superb, his faith deep and his genius profound. "Lincoln wrote his words on paper, but he also inscribed them in our hearts."

 

Echoing Lincoln, keynote speaker and Civil War historian James McPherson said the president took the dais in November 1863 at a time when it looked like the nation "might indeed perish from the earth."

 

"The Battle of Gettysburg became the hinge of fate on which turned the destiny of that nation and its new birth of freedom," McPherson.

 

In the July 1863 battle, considered the turning point of the war, federal forces fought back a Confederate invasion of Pennsylvania. Lincoln's speech was delivered more than four months later, at the dedication of a national cemetery to bury the battle's casualties.

 

In the short oration, he spoke of how democracy itself rested upon "the proposition that all men are created equal," a profound and politically risky statement for the time. Slavery and the doctrine of states' rights would not hold in the "more perfect union" of Lincoln's vision.

 

"In 272 words he put together what everyone was thinking, what everyone should know," said park historian John Heiser. Because of varying transcriptions, scholars generally put the text at 268 to 272 words.

 

VA. SENATOR STABBED; SON FOUND DEAD IN HOME

 

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) -- Virginia state Sen. R. Creigh Deeds, the Democrats' gubernatorial nominee four years ago, was stabbed Tuesday in his head and chest at his home, and his son died at the residence from a gunshot wound, police said.

 

Virginia State Police spokeswoman Corinne Geller wouldn't say who stabbed Deeds or how his son was shot, but she did say authorities were not looking for any suspects. The senator, who also ran for attorney general in 2005, was in critical condition at a hospital.

 

After the stabbing, Deeds was able to walk away from his home to a nearby road in rural western Virginia and a cousin who was driving by happened to spot the senator, police said. They drove to the cousin's home and a 911 call was placed from there.

 

Inside the senator's home in Millboro, authorities found Deeds' 24-year-old son, Gus, suffering from a gunshot wound. Despite efforts by state troopers and first responders, he died there.

 

"Investigators are working now on confirming the motive and actual sequence of events that took place at the residence," Geller said. "There is still a great deal of work to be done. These things take time."

 

She said police have been able to talk with the senator, but she wouldn't reveal what he said.

 

STUDY: KIDS ARE LESS FIT THAN THEIR PARENTS WERE

 

DALLAS (AP) -- Today's kids can't keep up with their parents. An analysis of studies on millions of children around the world finds they don't run as fast or as far as their parents did when they were young.

 

On average, it takes children 90 seconds longer to run a mile than their counterparts did 30 years ago. Heart-related fitness has declined 5 percent per decade since 1975 for children ages 9 to 17.

 

The American Heart Association, whose conference featured the research on Tuesday, says it's the first to show that children's fitness has declined worldwide over the last three decades.

 

"It makes sense. We have kids that are less active than before," said Dr. Stephen Daniels, a University of Colorado pediatrician and spokesman for the heart association.

 

Health experts recommend that children 6 and older get 60 minutes of moderately vigorous activity accumulated over a day. Only one-third of American kids do now.

 

The new study was led by Grant Tomkinson, an exercise physiologist at the University of South Australia. Researchers analyzed 50 studies on running fitness - a key measure of cardiovascular health and endurance - involving 25 million children ages 9 to 17 in 28 countries from 1964 to 2010.

 

Tomkinson and Dr. Stephen Daniels, a University of Colorado pediatrician and spokesman for the heart association said obesity likely plays a role, since it makes it harder to run or do any aerobic exercise. Too much time watching television and playing video games and unsafe neighborhoods with not enough options for outdoor play also may play a role.

 

Other research discussed global declines in activity.

 

Fitness is "pretty poor in adults and even worse in young people," especially in the United States and eastern Europe, said Dr. Ulf Ekelund of the Norwegian School of Sport Sciences in Oslo, Norway.

 

World Health Organization numbers suggest that 80 percent of young people globally may not be getting enough exercise.

 

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