And it seems to me important for a country, for a nation to certainly know about its glorious achievements but also to know where its ideals failed, in order to keep that from happening again. George Takei
Ours is the only country deliberately founded on a good idea.John Gunther (August 30, 1901 – May 29, 1970) was an American journalist and author whose success came primarily through a series of popular sociopolitical works known as the “Inside” books (1936-1972). He is best known today for the memoir Death Be Not Proud about the death of his teenage son, Johnny Gunther, from a brain tumor.
John Adams Speech to the Second Continental Congress given on Monday, July 1, 1776, Adams. “Adams was the Atlas of the hour, the man to whom the country is more indebted for the great measure of independency…He it was who sustained the debate, and by the force of his reasoning demonstrated not only the justice, but the expediency of the measure.” – New Jersey delegate Richard Stockton
The vote for independence took place the next day, on July 2, 1776,
Text of Speech, pieced together from letters and Adams’ recollections as an old man:
“Measures of the most stupendous magnitude – measures which affect the lives of millions, born and unborn – are now before us. We must expect a great expense of blood and pain, but we must remember that a free constitution of civil government cannot be purchased at too dear a rate, as there is nothing this side of Jerusalem of greater importance to mankind. My worthy colleague from Pennsylvania has spoken with grace and eloquence, and he has given you a grim prognostication of our nation future, but where he foresees apocalypse, I see hope. I see a new nation ready to take its place in the world. Not an empire, but a Republic, and a republic of laws, not men.
Gentlemen, we are in the very midst of revolution, the most complete, unexpected and remarkable of any in the history of the world. How few of the human race have ever had an opportunity of choosing a system of government for themselves and their children.
I am not without apprehensions, gentlemen. But the end we have in sight is more than worth all the means. I believe, Sirs, that the hour has come. My judgment approves this measure, and my whole heart is in it. All that I have, all that I am, and all that I hope in this life I am now ready to stake upon it.
While I live, let me have a country. A free country.”
If you have never watched All Quiet on the Western Front (1930 version) go do so, but if you want a glimpse of this great movie from 1930 read this speech from the main character who returns to his old school in Germany and tells the young men who sit in the sames benches he did a short while ago.
I can’t say anything…I can’t tell you anything you don’t know. We live in the trenches out there. We fight. We try not to be killed; sometimes we are. That’s all….
I’ve been there! I know what it’s like…. I heard you in here reciting that same old stuff, making more iron men, more young heroes. You still think it’s beautiful and sweet to die for your country, don’t you? We used to think you knew. The first bombardment taught us better. It’s dirty and painful to die for your country. When it comes to dying for your country, it’s better not to die at all. There are millions out there dying for their countries, and what good is it?…You asked me to tell them how much they’re needed out there. (to the boys) He tells you, ‘Go out and die.’ Oh, but if you’ll pardon me, it’s easier to say ‘go out and die’ than it is to do it….And it’s easier to say it than to watch it happen….
It’s no use talking like this. You won’t know what I mean. Only, it’s been a long while since we enlisted out of this classroom. So long, I thought maybe the whole world had learned by this time. Only now, they’re sending babies, and they won’t last a week! I shouldn’t have come on leave. Up at the front, you’re alive or you’re dead, and that’s all. You can’t fool anybody about that very long. Up there, we know we’re lost and done for, whether we’re dead or alive. Three years we’ve had of it — four years. And every day a year, and every night a century. And our bodies are earth. And our thoughts are clay. And we sleep and eat with death. And we’re done for, because you can’t live that way and keep anything inside you. I shouldn’t have come on leave. I’ll go back tomorrow. I’ve got four days more, but I can’t stand it here! I’ll go back tomorrow. Sorry.
Here is an audio clip of the speech.