Presidents Day 2014 … Great Presidents & Great Speeches (George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, JFK, Reagan), And Other Presidents & How History Will Remember Them
Never has America needed a president more who was a true leader and statesman who cared more about the United States of America and “We the People” than they do about themselves, their own power and their agenda. How far have we come from a first president who feared the impression that he would have the appearance of a king and had to be talked into a second term. George Washington left office on his own after two terms, there was no legislation that told him to do so. Compare that to today’s power grabs by presidents and their purposeful and willful ignoring of the US Constitution.
Please America, you have one more chance to get it right in 2016 and follow the path of the great presidents of our past and what America was intended to be.
1. President George Washington – George Washington Speech – First Inaugural Address, April 30, 1789
Fellow-Citizens of the Senate and of the House of Representatives:
Among the vicissitudes incident to life no event could have filled me with greater anxieties than that of which the notification was transmitted by your order, and received on the 14th day of the present month. On the one hand, I was summoned by my Country, whose voice I can never hear but with veneration and love, from a retreat which I had chosen with the fondest predilection, and, in my flattering hopes, with an immutable decision, as the asylum of my declining years–a retreat which was rendered every day more necessary as well as more dear to me by the addition of habit to inclination, and of frequent interruptions in my health to the gradual waste committed on it by time. On the other hand, the magnitude and difficulty of the trust to which the voice of my country called me, being sufficient to awaken in the wisest and most experienced of her citizens a distrustful scrutiny into his qualifications, could not but overwhelm with despondence one who (inheriting inferior endowments from nature and unpracticed in the duties of civil administration) ought to be peculiarly conscious of his own deficiencies. In this conflict of emotions all I dare aver is that it has been my faithful study to collect my duty from a just appreciation of every circumstance by which it might be affected. All I dare hope is that if, in executing this task, I have been too much swayed by a grateful remembrance of former instances, or by an affectionate sensibility to this transcendent proof of the confidence of my fellow-citizens, and have thence too little consulted my incapacity as well as disinclination for the weighty and untried cares before me, my error will be palliated by the motives which mislead me, and its consequences be judged by my country with some share of the partiality in which they originated.
Such being the impressions under which I have, in obedience to the public summons, repaired to the present station, it would be peculiarly improper to omit in this first official act my fervent supplications to that Almighty Being who rules over the universe, who presides in the councils of nations, and whose providential aids can supply every human defect, that His benediction may consecrate to the liberties and happiness of the people of the United States a Government instituted by themselves for these essential purposes, and may enable every instrument employed in its administration to execute with success the functions allotted to his charge. In tendering this homage to the Great Author of every public and private good, I assure myself that it expresses your sentiments not less than my own, nor those of my fellow- citizens at large less than either. No people can be bound to acknowledge and adore the Invisible Hand which conducts the affairs of men more than those of the United States. Every step by which they have advanced to the character of an independent nation seems to have been distinguished by some token of providential agency; and in the important revolution just accomplished in the system of their united government the tranquil deliberations and voluntary consent of so many distinct communities from which the event has resulted can not be compared with the means by which most governments have been established without some return of pious gratitude, along with an humble anticipation of the future blessings which the past seem to presage. These reflections, arising out of the present crisis, have forced themselves too strongly on my mind to be suppressed. You will join with me, I trust, in thinking that there are none under the influence of which the proceedings of a new and free government can more auspiciously commence. (more)
2. President Ronald W. Reagan – ‘Tear Down This Wall’ speech from June 12, 1987 in West Berlin, Germany at the base of the Brandenburg Gate.
General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, if you seek liberalization: Come here to this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!
I understand the fear of war and the pain of division that afflict this continent– and I pledge to you my country’s efforts to help overcome these burdens. To be sure, we in the West must resist Soviet expansion. So we must maintain defenses of unassailable strength. Yet we seek peace; so we must strive to reduce arms on both sides.
Government is not the solution, Government is the problem
There are just so many great and historic moments from the Reagan years, go HERE to watch and listen to many of them from the space shuttle Challenger tragedy to his Evil Empire speech.
3. President Abraham Lincoln – Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, November 19. 1863
Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate— we can not consecrate—we can not hallow— this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us— that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion— that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of free- dom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.
4. President John F. Kennedy – “I am a Berliner – Ich Bin Ein Berliner” … read Text HERE.
Freedom is indivisible, and when one man is enslaved, all are not free.
When all are free, then we can look forward to that day when this city will be joined as one and this country and this great continent of Europe in a peaceful and hopeful globe.
When that day finally comes, as it will, the people of West Berlin can take sober satisfaction in the fact that they were in the front lines for almost two decades.
All free men, wherever they may live, are citizens of Berlin, and, therefore, as a free man, I take pride in the words “Ich bin ein Berliner”.
Ask Not What your Country can do for you, Ask what you can do for your Country
And then we have those presidents who no matter what they had and have said during their terms in office will forever be known for the following comments and speeches. One inspirational and two, not so much.
President George W. Bush -Bull Horn speech at Ground Zero following 911 terror attack ... “I can hear you, the rest of the world hears you, and the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon.”
President Bill Clinton - I did not have sexual relations with that woman. Could also have used, “it all depends on what is, is”.