JULY 4, 1950
I have just come back from a month abroad, and during that month we visited nine countries. It seems incredible that one can pack so much into such a short period of time and come away with so many impressions and recollections of the different countries.
Just now though, I am thinking of how wonderful it is to be at home, back in one's country, in one's own home with one's own family and friends. It is always on these occasions, when I have been abroad and return to this country, that I become more aware of how precious is my citizenship.
There is a wind of freedom here that cannot blow in the fields of Europe, or of any older country where many nations live in close proximity. Their old traditions, old buildings, old customs are of great interest to us but, here there is a great vitality in our still young and growing people, and much still remains to be developed in our great resources.
We celebrate on the Fourth of July our Declaration of Independence—that famous document in which we asserted the rights and freedoms of the individual and their worth to us.
I think it is well to remind ourselves on the Fourth of July, 1950 that we must not let these rights and freedoms slip away from us, just because we take it for granted that they are inalienable rights. They were fought for once, and we may have to fight for them again, at least, so far as is necessary to establish the fact that we wish to live up to all of the ideals and principles of democracy, and that we will not tolerate any abridgement of these rights which leads to disunity and distrust among us.
Traditionally, on the Fourth of July we, as a family, go picnicking with our friends and neighbors on the top of a hill where we can look for miles in every direction. I always hope for good weather at least until three o'clock in the afternoon, because the hilltop is very symbolic to me of our freedom of spirit, and I would hate to break the tradition of our yearly jaunt to this particular spot.
I hope we will all re-read our famous Declaration this year, in the light of what it means to each one of us today in the present world situation.
Our Declaration of Independence must now be embodied in the growth of a world spirit, which asks for all human beings throughout the world, the same rights and freedoms which we cherish and try to observe.