Our collective history as human beings has never been a shining example of the better qualities in man. Wars and violence haunt us and ever threaten the dreams of peaceful men. In all our failings, though, a spark has always existed to bring hope for the future and guide us onward to better times.
Those who came before us were no greater than any one of us. They were imperfect men and women striving to create a better world for themselves and their children. They left us with ideas and inventions and paved the way for our modern civilization. They gave us the rule of law and the concept of individual liberty.
As Lincoln said, “…our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.” Unfortunately, they brought with them slavery, genocide, and war as well. It is a great irony and a testament to the conflicted nature of our struggle to be free.
Looking back we must not condemn our ancestors for their shortcomings because we are them and they are us. Every generation has the same potential for good and evil. We must also refrain from nostalgia and look honestly at our past, present, and future. Liberty is not just an idea to be revered for its past glory; it is the very heart and soul of every good man with its final goal yet to be achieved.
We have been left a legacy binding us not to our past but intended to push us further onward to greatness and destiny. Freedom and liberty for all men and no less should be our heart’s desire. It should not be enough for us to restore the hopes and dreams of the past or to re-establish what has once been. We can and must do better than those before us. For though we too are imperfect , we are not incapable of continuing the work undone.
Do not limit what we can be to the ideas of the past, blaze a new trail of creative and independent thought. Our Forefathers conceived this nation in liberty…let us conceive a world bathed in the glorious light of our fair lady. Let us not again cry liberty and justice for all until all men are free.