Today in the United States, we celebrate our independence. Perhaps there is no greater way to reflect on what celebrating Independence Day should mean to each of us than to remember the words of some of the greatest leaders throughout U.S. history.
We here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain; that this nation shall have a new birth of freedom; and that this government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.
~ Abraham Lincoln
If our country is worth dying for in time of war let us resolve that it is truly worth living for in time of peace.
We must be free not because we claim freedom, but because we practice it.
This nation will remain the land of the free only so long as it is the home of the brave.
Freedom has its life in the hearts, the actions, the spirit of men and so it must be daily earned and refreshed – else like a flower cut from its life-giving roots, it will wither and die.
~Dwight D. Eisenhower
A thoughtful mind, when it sees a Nation’s flag, sees not the flag only, but the Nation itself; and whatever may be its symbols, its insignia, he reads chiefly in the flag the Government, the principles, the truths, the history which belongs to the Nation which belongs to the Nation that sets it forth.
~ Henry Ward Beecher
Every good citizen makes his country’s honor his own, and cherishes it not only as precious but as sacred. He is willing to risk his life in its defence and is conscious that he gains protection while he gives it.
And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country.
~John F Kennedy
Our country is not the only thing to which we owe our allegiance. It is also owed to justice and to humanity. Patriotism consists not in waving the flag, but in striving that our country shall be righteous as well as strong.
~ James Bryce
Posterity: you will never know how much it has cost my generation to preserve your freedom. I hope you will make good use of it.
~ John Quincy Adams
But in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or to detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here.
It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped. Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope.
~ Robert Kennedy