Oratorical Piece : Because Of What We Are, Of What We Believe
For every generation, there is a destiny. For some, history decides. For this generation, the choice must be our own.
Our destiny in the midst of change will rest on the changed character of our people and on their faith.
In a land of great wealth, families must not live in hopeless poverty.
In a land rich in harvest, children must not be hungry.
In a land of healing miracles, neighbors must not suffer and die untended.
In a great land of learning and scholars, young people must be taught to read and write.
How incredible it is that in this fragile existence, we should hate and destroy one another. There are possibilities enough for all who will abandon mastery; others to pursue mastery over nature. There is world enough for all to seek their happiness in their own way.
We have discovered that every child who learns, and every man who finds work, and every sick body that is made whole – like a candle added to an altar – brightens the hope of all the faithful.
So let us reject any among us, who seek to reopen old wounds, and rekindle old hatreds. They stand in the way of a seeking nation.
Let us join reason to faith and action to experience, to transform our unity of interest into a unity of purpose. To achieve change without hatred; not without difference of opinion but without the deep and abiding divisions which scar the union for generations.
Under the covenant of justice, liberty and union, we have become a nation. And we have kept our freedom.
It is the excitement of becoming – always becoming, trying, probing, resting, and trying again but always gaining.
If we fail now, then we will have forgotten in abundance what we learned in hardship; that democracy rests on faith, that freedom asks more that it gives.
If we succeeded, it will not be because of what we have, but it will be because of what we are; not because of what we own, but rather because of what we believe.
For we are a nation of believers. Underneath the clamor of buildings and the rush of our day’s pursuits, we are the believers in justice and liberty and union. And in our own union we believe that every man must some day be free. And we believe in ourselves.
For this is what our country is all about. It is the uncrossed desert and the unclimbed bridge. It is the star that is not reached and the harvest that is sleeping in the unplowed ground.
Is our world gone? We say farewell, is a new world coming? We welcome it – and we will bend it to the hopes of man.
But you must look within your own hearts to the old promises and to the old dreams. They will lead you the best of all.