JULY 4, 1956
HYDE PARK—Today is the Fourth of July and all over this country people will be holding patriotic parades. Everyone who has a flag will fly it and our people everywhere will be thinking of the glorious past which has built our nation and will be hoping for an equally glorious future.
Everyone should read the Declaration of Independence on this Fourth of July and refresh his memory as to the principles laid down by our forefathers. They were revolutionary principles indeed!
Sometimes, as you listen to our most patriotic groups today, you wonder if they have completely forgotten that the ancestors whom they cherish were looked upon with consternation when they wrote the Declaration of Independence.
This declaration seemed to those in authority in those days a most dangerous document, filled with implications that meant disaster to the world. Whenever there are great upheavals and changes in the thinking of people, some persons are frightened by the changes, others welcome them.
The authors of the Declaration of Independence welcomed change, and the people who are going to live in the world of the future, had better be prepared to welcome changes, too, for the scientists tell us that the great discoveries of the past 60 years are nothing compared with those that lie ahead.
We will have to adapt ourselves to these changes and to grow in our economic theories, in our social aspirations and in our moral concepts to be able to think and live in the new world the scientists will build for us.
So on this Fourth of July we must not only think back with pride, but we must think forward with vision. No one can predict the future, but we do know that unless we are prepared to adapt ourselves to the requirements of the new day, we will lose our faith and interest and the power in the world.
I wish that in every place on the Fourth of July our speakers would address themselves particularly to the young people of the nation. I wish they would put before them the challenge of the future, the changes required in their education, the opportunities that will open up for them to see and enjoy the world, as well as the obligations to prepare themselves for this opportunity.
Our young people approach a most adventurous period of history. The future of their own country lies in their hands, in their vision and courage to greet the unknown not only in a spirit of adventure but with the very solid virtues of our forefathers—courage, conviction, and confidence in our destiny.
This is the meaning to me of the Fourth of July today. May we keep the memory of our ancestors alive to encourage us as we face our future.