JULY 4, 1955
HYDE PARK—This is the Fourth of July, the day on which we celebrate our Declaration of Independence, a day which to every American should mean a rereading of the Declaration followed by a reading of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. On these documents we actually based the building of a new nation.
Our forefathers came here, many of them to escape oppression, many of them from pure love of adventure, some of them because they had offended against the law in their homelands and were sentenced to exile. All of them, however, helped to build a new world, and they built it with the background of these documents which were the expression of the thinking of the ablest young men in our nation at that time.
These men were young and they were fired by the idea of freedom and individual responsibility, and they hoped to live far enough away from the Old World so that they would be left in peace to develop this idea.
For a time physical barriers made this possible, but today the happy isolation is obsolete.
We take it for granted that nothing can now interfere with our success in developing a democratic country. Yet, it really requires as much of our care and thought as it ever did, though we have to adapt our thought and action to the new world in which we live.
We live now in a world where natural barriers have nothing to do with peace. The desire for peace has to be in the hearts of men. We have to learn to live together as the whole world rubs elbows! It is constantly growing smaller as we discover more rapid means of transportation and communication.
Our idea of freedom and responsibility must be extended and understood by the whole world and we must develop a sense of unity among all races and peoples throughout the world.
So, as we think of our own heroes and bless our forefathers on this Fourth of July for what they have given us, I would urge also that we ponder a song which was sent to me the other day and which I think should be a part of our present-day Fourth of July celebration.
Song of Peace
A song of peace for lands afar and mine:
This is my home, the country where my heart is,
Here are my hopes, my dreams, my holy shrine;
But other hearts in other lands are beating
With hopes and dreams as true and high as mine.
And sunlight beams on cloverleaf and pine.
But other lands have sunlight, too, and clover,
And skies are ev'rywhere as blue as mine.
Oh, hear my song, thou God of all the nations,
A song of peace for their land and for mine.