JULY 4, 1957
HYDE PARK—The Fourth of July is perhaps the day of all days when patriotism in the United States is stirred to its highest peak. We bring up our children to feel that this is an important day and that they must never forget the Declaration of Independence.
Slowly we have curtailed the tremendous noise and danger that went with the unlimited use of firecrackers in the daytime and uncontrolled fireworks at night.
I still love fireworks when I know they are being handled by competent people, but I am thankful for no longer having to suffer through the endless noise that started at 5 o'clock in the morning and continued through the day.
I wish, however, that along with our Independence Day parades we would organize some simple and understandable ceremonies. Together, we could reread in front of our town halls the Declaration of Independence so that the whole community could hear those ringing words again.
We could get someone to tell us simply, without oratory so every child would understand, a little bit about the history and the feeling of the people who wrote the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution and backed these documents with their lives.
It was by living hard and courageous lives that these people tried to bring their dreams of liberty to reality, and this fact is a good one to emphasize today. It is the living that we do that still matters and will matter in what we make of our country in the next few years.
From a very small nation, weak and uncertain as to how we could defend ourselves, we grew in strength until today we are so strong we can bring more strength than any other to the society of nations known as the United Nations.
This has happened over a very few years, and perhaps the growth in responsibility has been more rapid than we as a nation were prepared to accept. But whether we wanted this responsibility or not, we now must accept it.
It is for that reason, I think, that we should use the Fourth of July to remind ourselves of the ideals and principles on which this nation was founded and to bring to our children a sense of the meaning this country had, when it was founded, for the rest of the world.
Many people then were in bondage and living under oppression. The effort made in this country for freedom and control of government by the people was an inspiration to peoples everywhere. Now that we have grown strong and can help others attain the freedom they desire, we must see that it remains so.