Speech

931 – Robert Heinlein on Patriotism

“The next level in moral behavior higher than that exhibited by the baboon is that in which duty and loyalty are shown toward a group of your own kind too large for an individual to know all of them. We have a name for that. It is called ‘patriotism.’
Behaving on a still higher moral level were the astronauts who went to the Moon, for their actions tend toward the survival of the entire race of mankind. The door they opened leads to the hope that H. sapiens will survive indefinitely long, even longer than this solid planet on which we stand tonight. As a direct result of what they did, it is now possible that the human race will never die.
Many short-sighted fools think that going to the Moon was just a stunt. But the astronauts knew the meaning of what they were doing, as is shown by Neil Armstrong’s first words in stepping down onto the soil of Luna: ‘One small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.'”

-Robert Heinlein

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926 – “In the history of the human race, those periods which later appeared as great have been the periods when the men and the women belonging to them had transcended the differences that divided them and had recognized in their membership in the human race a common bond.”

-Haile Selassie I, Emperor of Ethiopia

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919 – Benét’s Prayer for The Common Man

“God of the free, we pledge our hearts and lives today to the cause of all free mankind.
Grant us victory over the tyrants who would enslave all free men and nations. Grant us faith and understanding to cherish all those who fight for freedom as if they were our brothers. Grant us brotherhood in hope and union, not only for the space of this bitter war, but for the days to come which shall and must unite all the children of earth.
Our earth is but a small star in the great universe. Yet of it we can make, if we choose, a planet unvexed by war, untroubled by hunger or fear, undivided by senseless distinctions of race, color or theory. Grant us that courage and foreseeing to begin this task today that our children and our children’s children may be proud of the name of man.
The spirit of man has awakened and the soul of man has gone forth. Grant us the wisdom and the vision to comprehend the greatness of man’s spirit, that suffers and endures so hugely for a goal beyond his own brief span. Grant us honor for our dead who died in the faith, honor for our living who work and strive for the faith, redemption and security for all captive lands and peoples. Grant us patience with the deluded and pity for the betrayed. And grant us the skill and valor that shall cleanse the world of oppression and the old base doctrine that the strong must eat the weak because they are strong.
Yet most of all grant us brotherhood, not only for this day but for all our years — a brotherhood not of words but of acts and deeds. We are all of us children of earth — grant us that simple knowledge. If our brothers are oppressed, then we are oppressed. If they hunger, we hunger. If their freedom is taken away, our freedom is not secure. Grant us a common faith that man shall know bread and peace — that he shall know justice and righteousness, freedom and security, an equal opportunity and an equal chance to do his best, not only in our own lands, but throughout the world. And in that faith let us march toward the clean world our hands can make.
Amen.”

-Stephen Vincent Benét

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909 – “This nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth. No single space project in this period will be more impressive to mankind, or more important for the long-range exploration of space; and none will be so difficult or expensive to accomplish. … But in a very real sense, it will not be one man going to the moon — if we make this judgment affirmatively, it will be an entire nation. For all of us must work to put him there.”

-John F Kennedy, 35th President of the United States of America

50 years ago today, ALM Eagle landed in the Mare Tranquillitatis on the surface of the Moon. …

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905 – “By a plan known only to Providence, the stolen sons and daughters of Africa helped to awaken the conscience of America. The very people traded into slavery helped to set America free. My Nation’s journey toward justice has not been easy, and it is not over. The racial bigotry fed by slavery did not end with slavery or with segregation. And many of the issues that still trouble America have roots in the bitter experience of other times. But however long the journey, our destination is set: liberty and justice for all.”

-George W Bush, 43rd President of the United States of America

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901 – Wisława Szymborska on Knowledge

“Rozmaici oprawcy, dyktatorzy, fanatycy, demagodzy walczący o władzę przy pomocy kilku byle głośno wykrzykiwanych haseł, także lubią swoją pracę i także wykonują ją z gorliwą pomysłowością. No tak, ale oni “wiedzą”. Wiedzą, a to, co wiedzą, wystarcza im raz na zawsze. Niczego ponad to nie są ciekawi, bo to mogłoby osłabić siłę ich argumentów. A wszelka wiedza, która nie wyłania z siebie nowych pytań, staje się w szybkim czasie martwa, traci temperaturę sprzyjającą życiu. W najskrajniejszych przypadkach, o czym dobrze wiadomo z historii dawnej i współczesnej, potrafi być nawet śmiertelnie groźna dla społeczeństw”.

“All sorts of torturers, dictators, fanatics, and demagogues struggling for power by way of a few loudly shouted slogans also enjoy their jobs, and they too perform their duties with inventive fervor. Well, yes, but they “know.” They know, and whatever they know is enough for them once and for all. They don’t want to find out about anything else, since that might diminish their arguments’ force. And any knowledge that doesn’t lead to new questions quickly dies out: it fails to maintain the temperature required for sustaining life. In the most extreme cases, cases well known from ancient and modern history, it even poses a lethal threat to society.”

-Wisława Szymborska

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893 – “In conclusion I congratulate you, my fellow-citizens, upon the high state of prosperity to which the goodness of Divine Providence has conducted our common country. Let us invoke a continuance of the same protecting care which has led us from small beginnings to the eminence we this day occupy.”

-Zachary Taylor, 12th President of the United States of America

Happy 243rd Birthday to the United States of America!

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