Quotes for
the Journey:

America/
Independence Day

   
  
Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me.
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.

Emma Lazarus, 1903

Inscription at Plymouth Rock:   This spot marks the final resting-place of the Pilgrims of the Mayflower.  In weariness and hunger and in cold, fighting the wilderness. . . they here laid the foundations of a state in which all men for countless ages should have liberty to worship God in their own way.  All ye who pass by and see this stone remember, and dedicate yourselves anew to the resolution that you will not rest until this lofty ideal shall have been realized throughout the earth.

   

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. . . . That this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom--and that government of the people, by the people, and for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

Abraham Lincoln
November 19, 1863

   

We are not afraid to entrust the American people with unpleasant facts, foreign ideas, alien philosophies, and competitive values.  For a
nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation that is afraid of its people.      -John F. Kennedy

   

So we pray to Him now for the vision to see our way clearly-- to see the way that leads to a better life for ourselves and for all our fellow people--to the achievement of His will to peace on earth.       -Franklin D. Roosevelt

    

I aspire to stand for the best of American values.  That's not easy.  Living in freedom is hard work.  I know of no other people on earth who are more generous, who are more open, almost to the point of distraction.  I know of no other people who act with better motives, though that doesn't mean we always do the best.  So I aspire as a journalist and as a human being to be guided by the best of America, but also to recognize the bad.  And I accept the responsibility to do what I can to keep government honest and to see the injustice doesn't go unnoticed.  That's American to me.       -Peter Jennings

   

America, I saw, truly is the first universal nation; it is facing challenges of integration that no other nation has ever contemplated.  Its destiny is to discover for humanity the deeper meaning of individual, community, and their interdependence.  There is a freedom, I realized, encoded in the inscription on its dollar bill, E Pluribus Unum, Out of the Many, One--a riddle the country still has to unravel.  The old polarity of self and other is beginning to be more and more difficult to sustain in a world of increasing interdependence.    -Roger Housden, Sacred America

   
Freedom of religion, freedom of the press, and freedom of person under the protection of the habeus corpus, these are the principles that guided our steps through an age of revolution and reformation.       -Thomas Jefferson
   
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all people are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. . . For the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of the Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other, our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.      -The Declaration of Independence
    
Our abundant plains and mountains would yield little if it were not for the applied skill and energy of Americans working together as fellow citizens bound up in common destiny.  The achievement of brother- and sisterhood is the crowning objective of our society.       -Dwight D. Eisenhower
   
America seeks no earthly empire built on blood and force.  No ambition, no temptation, lures her to thought of foreign dominions.  The legions which she sends forth are armed, not with the sword, but with the cross.  The higher state to which she seeks the allegiance of all mankind is not of human, but of divine origin.  She cherishes no other purpose save to merit the favor of Almighty God.       -Calvin Coolidge
   
If you want to be respected for your actions, then your behavior must be above reproach.  If our lives demonstrate that we are peaceful, humble, and trusted, this is recognized by others.       -Rosa Parks
   
Above all, we must realize that no arsenal, or no weapon in the arsenals of the world, is so formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women.       -Ronald Reagan
    
It must be a government which submits loyally and heartily to the Constitution and the laws--the laws of the nation and the laws of the States themselves--accepting and obeying faithfully the whole Constitution as it is.  Resting upon this sure and substantial foundation, the superstructure of beneficent local governments can be built up, and not otherwise.       -Rutherford B. Hayes
   
When Americans say that they love their country, they mean not only that they love the New England hills, the prairies glistening in the sun, the wide and rising plains, the great mountains, and the sea.  They mean that they love an inner air, an inner light in which freedom lives and in which a person can draw the breath of self-respect.       -Adlai Stevenson
   
Bill of Rights:   Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
  

Democracy is not a mathematical deduction proved once and for all time.  Democracy is a just faith fervently held, a commitment to be tested again and again in the fiery furnace of history.      -Jack Kemp

   
The foundation of this nation we call America is the simple yet practical 
complex notion of "liberty for all."  Freedom!

Never was a nation founded on ideals and principles as pure as those
the founding fathers laid down for this great nation.  They envisioned a land
where men and women could live together in harmony and peace.  They
imagined a prosperous land, one where the people would help and encourage
one another to lead good lives in service of the common good.  A land where
people would rather help you up than pull you down, a land where men and
women could pursue their dreams.  They had in mind a nation governed by
men and women from all walks of life, with different views, but dedicated to
their common purpose of affirming the highest values of the human spirit.
Has their vision been realized?  Has their dream been forgotten?

Mottoes and philosophies such as "If it feels good, do it" and "To each his own"
are destroying the founding fathers' vision and robbing us of our freedom.  Such
philosophies lead us to have one more beer or one more shot--because it feels
good.  These attitudes lead us to cheat on our wives, even if it is her best friend--
because it feels good.  Then, before you know it, children start walking into
classrooms and shooting their teachers and classmates--because it feels good.
After a while, our children are hungry and have holes in their shoes--because the
thrill of gambling feels good.  And it goes on, and on, and on, reaching into every
corner of our lives and our society.

Where did it all start?  Where did we get lost?  What went wrong?  How do we
make it right?  The foundation of great nations is freedom.  The foundation of
freedom is not strength, but character.  The foundation of character is discipline.

Matthew Kelly

    

   

I sought for the greatness and genius of America in her commodious
harbors and in her ample rivers, and it was not there.

I sought for the greatness and genius of America in her fertile
fields and boundless forests, and it was not there.

I sought for the greatness and genius of America in her rich mines
and her vast world commerce, and it was not there.

I sought for the greatness and genius of America in her public
school system and her institutions of learning, and it was not there.

I sought for the genius and greatness of America in her
democratic congress and her matchless constitution, and it was not there.

Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits
flame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and power.

America is great because America is good, and if America
ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.

Alexis de Tocqueville

   
O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!
America! America!
God shed His grace on thee,
And crown thy good
with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

Katharine Lee Bates
    

The Americans
A spoken song by Gordon Sinclair from the early 70's

The United States dollar took another pounding on German, French, and British exchanges this morning, hitting the lowest point ever known in West Germany.  It has declined there by 41% since 1971, and this Canadian thinks it's time to speak up for the Americans as the most generous and possibly the least appreciated people in all the world. 

As long as sixty years ago, when I first started to read newspapers, I read of floods on the Yellow River and the Yangtze.  Well, who rushed in with men and money to help?  The Americans did, that's who.  They have helped control floods on the Nile, the Amazon, the Ganges, and the Niger.  Today, the rich bottom land of the Mississippi is underwater, and no foreign land has sent a dollar to help.  Germany, Japan, and to a lesser extent Britain and Italy, were lifted out of the debris of war by the Americans who poured in billions of dollars and forgave other billions in debts.  None of those countries is today paying even the interest on its remaining debts to the United States.

When the franc was in danger of collapsing in 1956, it was the Americans who propped it up, and their reward was to be insulted and swindled on the streets of Paris--and I was there, I saw that.  When distant cities are hit by earthquake, it's the United States that hurries in to help; Managua, Nicaragua is one of the most recent examples.  So far this spring, 59 American communities have been flattened by tornadoes--nobody has helped.  The Marshall Plan, the Truman Policy--all pumped billions upon billions of dollars into discouraged countries, and now newspapers in those countries are writing about the decadent, war-mongering Americans.

Now, I'd like to see just one of those countries that is gloating over the erosion of the United States dollar build its own airplanes.  Come on, now you--let's hear it!  Does any country in the world have a plane to equal the Boeing jumbo jet, the Lockheed Tristar, or the Douglas Ten.  If so, why don't they fly them?  Why do all international lines except Russia fly American planes?  Why does no other land on earth even consider putting a man or a woman on the moon?  You talk about Japanese technocracy, and you get radios.  You talk about German technocracy, and you get automobiles.  You talk about American technocracy, and you find men on the moon, not once, but several times, and safely home again.  You talk about scandals, and the Americans put theirs right in the store window for everybody to look at.  Even the draft dodgers are not pursued and hounded.  They're right here on our streets in Toronto.  Most of them, unless they're breaking Canadian laws, are getting American dollars from ma and pa at home to spend up here.

When the Americans get out of this bind, as they will, who could blame them if they said to hell with the rest of the world.  Let somebody else buy the bonds.  Let somebody else build or repair foreign dams, or design foreign buildings that won't shake apart in earthquakes.  When the railways of France and Germany and India were breaking down through age, it was the Americans who rebuilt them.  When the Pennsylvania Railroad and the New York Central went broke, nobody loaned them an old caboose.  Both of them are still broke.

I can name to you five thousand times when the Americans raced to the help of other people in trouble.  Can you name to me even one time when someone raced to the help of the Americans in trouble?  I don't think there was outside help even during the San Francisco earthquake.  Our neighbors have faced it alone.  And I'm one Canadian who is damned tired of hearing them kicked around.  They'll come out of this thing with their flag high, and when they do, they're entitled to thumb their noses at the lands that are gloating over their present trouble.  I hope Canada is not one of these.  But there are many smug, self-righteous Canadians.  And finally, the American Red Cross was told at its 48th annual meeting in New Orleans this morning that it was broke.  This year's disasters, with the year less than half over, have taken it all, and nobody, but nobody, has helped.

   

   
We are the United States of America, the most misunderstood country in the world.  Yes, we make mistakes, sometimes huge ones, and no, we're not perfect, though some of our politicians and business people and entertainment people would like to make the world think we are--they're the ones who create the image of the United States as aggressor, as colonialist, as imperialist.

But we who are the United States are its people, those who live in the neighborhoods and the towns who try to help our neighbors, who take pride in our country and its ideals, and who do our best every day to maintain the dreams and visions of our forefathers.

We contribute greatly to the world.  Technologically, we give a lot.  Spiritually, we give a lot.  We provide a model of democracy that has worked for almost two and a quarter centuries--a long-running experiment that has succeeded so far where others have failed.  Financially, we aid many countries in distress because of economic crises or natural disasters.  We send people and doctors and rescue workers to those natural disasters.  And people from all over the world send their children to American colleges, for they know that the higher educational system here, despite all the flaws that we all know about, is still the best in the world.

We live, we dream, we breathe, we hope, we love.  We grieve when violence gets out of hand, we laugh when we see something funny.  We are human beings, and we're doing our best in an unforgiving world.

The United States of America is not the political machine of the newspapers, not the ultra-violent society portrayed in newspapers or Hollywood productions, not the super-selfish businessmen who will do anything they can for profit. Yes, we have those people among us, but who doesn't? We are America--you and I, the common people, and our power is in our love, in our sense of community, and in our hope for a better tomorrow.

Tom Walsh

    

  

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