So, who is this Private Ryan that needs saving? He is one of 4 brothers... the other 3 having all been killed in the war. Some soldiers are sent on a mission to find him and bring him home so his mother doesn't have to suffer the loss of her 4th son. While the leader is explaining why he thinks they need to "save" Private Ryan, he reads this incredible, elogent, moving letter written by President Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War. It was written in November of 1864 to a Mrs Bixby in Boston...
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 which should 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 and 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,