JULY 4, 1949
HYDE PARK, Sunday—Tomorrow will be the Fourth of July and two things have made me think of this celebration more often during the past year than ever before.
In the first place, I have worked on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and one of the documents on which that declaration was based is, of course, our own Declaration of Independence as well as our own Bill of Rights.
Then just a short time ago I saw a showing of a part of a movie called, "Land of Liberty." This movie tells the story of the United States and, naturally, the Declaration of Independence. The speeches made by the men who wrote that declaration and who made our country are a very stirring part of the picture. This is a picture that should be constantly brought up to date and shown in every movie theater in the United States on the Fourth of July.
It used to be a pattern on this day for the children of the family to wake their grownups early by setting off firecrackers. And we used to read quite often of accidents that occurred because youngsters did not have enough sense to be wary of old cannon and large firecrackers.
In addition to the firecrackers, there was usually a gathering in every town and city and village where young and old listened to some good or bad oratory in which the patriotism of the past and present was loudly extolled. Then in the evening fireworks rejoiced the hearts of young and old alike and youngsters were allowed to stay up much later than on other nights and eat ice cream and cake and pop to their hearts' content.
There are fewer firecrackers available today and there is more emphasis on safety, but I do not think perhaps that we emphasize sufficiently the importance of this day and the standards that it set us for loyalty and devotion to our country.
The men who signed the Declaration of Independence pledged their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor to one another in a great undertaking. The undertaking today is somewhat different, and in many ways much harder. We must work day in and day out to make our democracy better so that the peoples of the world with their eyes trained on us will see community after community living up to the best that democracy can offer. Then we need not fear communism.
There is nothing better for a people than full participation in their government, full recognition of the human rights of every individual, and freedom within those rights to worship, to find opportunity for economic and intellectual achievement, to think and speak freely and to meet freely with one's fellow men. There is nothing more heart-warming than to look out at the world with goodwill and find friendliness and, therefore, be free of the fear of aggression. Thus and thus only can we attain today's objectives of peace and freedom in the world.