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Abraham Lincoln Proclamations for Thanksgiving Day

Portrait photo of Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln Proclamations for Thanksgiving Day

Abraham Lincoln issued proclamations for Thanksgiving Day in both 1863 and 1864. He called for this as a “day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Lord to occur on the last Thursday in November.”

Proclamation—Thanksgiving Day, 1863

Sarah Josepha Hale Image courtesy Library of Congress
Sarah Josepha Hale Image courtesy Library of Congress

On October 3, 1863, at the urging of Sarah Josepha Hale, President Abraham Lincoln issue the proclamation below calling for a “day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.”

Please read the full 1863 proclamation below.











Washington, D.C.
October 3, 1863

By the President of the United States of America.

A Proclamation.

1863 Proclamation of Thanksgiving--Courtesy Gilder Lehman
1863 Proclamation of Thanksgiving–Courtesy Gilder Lehman

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God.

In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defense, have not arrested the plow, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom. No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.

It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility and Union.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the United States the Eighty-eighth.

By the President: Abraham Lincoln

William H. Seward,
Secretary of State

Thanksgiving 1861 drawing by Alfred R. Waud--Image courtesy Library of Congress President Abraham Lincoln issued a Proclamation calling for a day of Thanksgiving in both 1863 and 1864.
Thanksgiving 1861 drawing by Alfred R. Waud–Image courtesy Library of Congress




Interior of Ford's Theatre, Washington D.C. Click for information on a tour of Lincoln Assassination sites.
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Proclamation 118—Thanksgiving Day, 1864

On October 20, 1864, President Abraham Lincoln issued a proclamation that the last Thursday of November would be set aside “as a day of thanksgiving and praise to Almighty God, the beneficent Creator and Ruler of the Universe.”

This 1864 proclamation follows the similar, October 3, 1863, document above that is believed to have been penned by William H. Seward.

Please read the full 1864 proclamation below.

By the President of the United States.
A Proclamation.

It has pleased Almighty God to prolong our national life another year, defending us with His guardian care against unfriendly designs from abroad and vouchsafing to us in His mercy many and signal victories over the enemy, who is of our own household. It has also pleased our Heavenly Father to favor as well our citizens in their homes as our soldiers in their camps and our sailors on the rivers and seas with unusual health. He has largely augmented our free population by emancipation and by immigration, while He has opened to us new sources of wealth and has crowned the labor of our workingmen in every department of industry with abundant rewards. Moreover, He has been pleased to animate and inspire our minds and hearts with fortitude, courage, and resolution sufficient for the great trial of civil war into which we have been brought by our adherence as a nation to the cause of freedom and humanity, and to afford to us reasonable hopes of an ultimate and happy deliverance from all our dangers and afflictions:

Now, therefore, I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, do hereby appoint and set apart the last Thursday in November next as a day which I desire to be observed by all my fellow-citizens, wherever they may then be, as a day of thanksgiving and praise to Almighty God, the beneficent Creator and Ruler of the Universe. And I do further recommend to my fellow-citizens aforesaid that on that occasion they do reverently humble themselves in the dust and from thence offer up penitent and fervent prayers and supplications to the Great Disposer of Events for a return of the inestimable blessings of peace, union, and harmony throughout the land which it has pleased Him to assign as a dwelling place for ourselves and for our posterity throughout all generations.

In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the city of Washington, this 20th day of October, A.D. 1864, and of the Independence of the United States the eighty-ninth.

By the President:

William H. Seward
Secretary of State


Portrait photo of Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln issued Proclamations calling for a day of Thanksgiving in 1863 and 1864.Sources

Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, Volume 6. Pages 496-497.

Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, Volume 8. Pages 55-56.

Are you interested in learning more about United States presidents and where they are buried? You can visit these amazing sites. CLICK HERE to read my blog posts on the final resting sites of United States Presidents.


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Abraham Lincoln and the Gettysburg Address November 19, 1863

Abraham Lincoln at Gettysburg
Abraham Lincoln at Gettysburg
Photo is a reprint of a small detail of a photo showing the crowd gathered for the dedication of the Soldiers’ National Cemetery in Gettysburg, Penn., where President Abraham Lincoln gave his now famous speech, the Gettysburg Address. Lincoln is visible facing the crowd, not wearing a hat, about an inch below the third flag from the left. Josephine Cobb first found Lincoln’s face while working with a glass plate negative at the National Archives in 1952. (Source: NARA, Rare Photo of Lincoln at Gettysburg,

In a speech of just over 250 words, and only two minutes long, President Abraham Lincoln provided a “few appropriate remarks” summarizing the national situation and reminding those in attendance that the work started must be completed. Union forces must continue to fight in order to preserve the nation.

While Lincoln was in Gettysburg, he stayed at the David Wills House, located in downtown Gettysburg at Lincoln Square. The house is operated by the National Park Service and admission is free. It is recommended to check the website before visiting as hours do change throughout the year. Here, you can visit the room where President Lincoln put the final touches on what might be his most famous speech.









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The text below is quoted from the Bliss Copy of the address as provided by the National Park Service. To learn about the five differing versions of the Gettysburg Address please visit Abraham Lincoln Online.

Gettysburg Address

Delivered at Gettysburg, PA

Nov. 19th 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 battlefield 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 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 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 freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

Lincoln’s speech, which is often quoted, has been analyzed and interpreted since it was given. There are several worthwhile books on the subject of the address and the creation of the Gettysburg National Cemetery. Below are several I recommend.

The Emerging Civil War Series is highly respected for the continual high level of scholarship these books include. Dr. Brad Gottfried is a respected academic who has served as a professor, college president, and author. His book Lincoln Comes to Gettysburg is a perfect introduction to the topic. At less than 200 pages and around $15 this is an amazing value for anybody interested in the Civil War, Gettysburg in particular, or Abraham Lincoln.




Perhaps the standard work on the topic is that of Gary Wills and his masterful Lincoln at Gettysburg.

By examining both the address and Lincoln in their historical moment and cultural frame, Wills breathes new life into words we thought we knew, and reveals much about a president so mythologized but often misunderstood. Wills shows how Lincoln came to change the world and to effect an intellectual revolution, how his words had to and did complete the work of the guns, and how Lincoln wove a spell that has not yet been broken.



For those a bit more advanced in your studies, I recommend seeking out The Gettysburg Gospel by Gabor Boritt.

The words Abraham Lincoln spoke at the dedication of the Soldiers’ National Cemetery at Gettysburg comprise perhaps the most famous speech in history. Many books have been written about the Gettysburg Address and yet, as Lincoln scholar Gabor Boritt shows, there is much that we don’t know about the speech. In The Gettysburg Gospel he tears away a century of myths, lies, and legends to give us a clear understanding of the greatest American’s greatest speech.


This post may contain affiliate links. If you click these links and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission. This commission does not affect any price that you pay. All views and opinions provided are my own and are never influenced by affiliate programs or sponsors providing products.


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Martin Luther King, Jr. “I Have a Dream” speech August 28, 1963

Martin Luther King, Jr. speaking in Washington, D.C.

On August 28, 1963, Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his “I Have a Dream” speech as part of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom event.  The text of the speech is below.

I also recommend the linked video below from the National Archives. The film is titled The March. Unfortunately some of the audio has been redacted due to a copyright claim from the King family.

If you want to read more of Kings speeches I recommend this volume. This fortieth-anniversary edition honors Martin Luther King Jr.’s courageous dream and his immeasurable contribution by presenting his most memorable words in a concise and convenient edition. As Coretta Scott King says in her foreword, “This collection includes many of what I consider to be my husband’s most important writings and orations.” In addition to the famed keynote address of the 1963 march on Washington, the renowned civil rights leader’s most influential words included here are the “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” the essay “Pilgrimage to Nonviolence,” and his last sermon, “I See the Promised Land,” preached the day before he was assassinated.

Editor James M. Washington arranged the selections chronologically, providing headnotes for each selection that give a running history of the civil rights movement and related events. In his introduction, Washington assesses King’s times and significance.

The I Have a Dream speech

Martin Luther King, Jr. speaking in Washington, D.C.
Martin Luther King, Jr. speaking in Washington D.C on August 28, 1963. Courtesy National Archives

Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity.

But 100 years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later the Negro is still languished in the corners of American society and finds himself in exile in his own land. And so we’ve come here today to dramatize a shameful condition. In a sense we’ve come to our nation’s capital to cash a check.

When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men — yes, Black men as well as white men — would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked insufficient funds.

But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt.

We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. And so we’ve come to cash this check, a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice.

We have also come to his hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism.

Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quick sands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God’s children.

It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. This sweltering summer of the Negro’s legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. 1963 is not an end, but a beginning. Those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual.

There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.

But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place, we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.

We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again, we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force. The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny.

And they have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone. And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back.

There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, when will you be satisfied? We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality. We can never be satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities.

We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro’s basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their selfhood and robbed of their dignity by signs stating: for whites only.

We cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote.

No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream.

I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive. Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our Northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed.

Let us not wallow in the valley of despair, I say to you today, my friends.

So even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

Martin Luther King, Jr in Washington D.C.
Martin Luther King, Jr. on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial Courtesy National Archives

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day down in Alabama with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification, one day right down in Alabama little Black boys and Black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers. I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.

This is our hope. This is the faith that I go back to the South with. With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

This will be the day when all of God’s children will be able to sing with new meaning: My country, ’tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrims’ pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring.

And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true. And so let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania. Let freedom ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado. Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California. But not only that, let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia. Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee. Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

And when this happens, and when we allow freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, Black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual: Free at last. Free at last. Thank God almighty, we are free at last.


To better understand the Civil Rights movement and the King Years I highly recommend the incredible three volume work by Taylor Branch, America in the King Years.

Branch has been awarded both the Pulitzer Prize and is a National Book Critics Circle award winner. Visit his website to learn more.

This post may contain affiliate links. If you click these links and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission. This commission does not affect any price that you pay. All views and opinions provided are my own and are never influenced by affiliate programs or sponsors providing products. 

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Ronald Reagan Remarks Before Assassination Attempt

Ronald Reagan Speaking 3/30/1981


Ronald Reagan Speaking 3/30/1981
3/30/1981 President Reagan speaking at podium (side view) at the National Conference of Building and Construction Trades Department AFL-CIO at the Hilton Hotel in Washington DC

On March 30, 1981 President Ronald Reagan gave a speech before members of the National Conference of the Building and  Construction Trades Department of the AFL-CIO. Read further to find Ronald Reagan remarks before the assassination attempt by John Hinkley.  As we know, Reagan would survive and go on to be elected for a second term.

You can see video of the speech here. The text of President Reagan’s speech is below.

It was after this speech, as Reagan was leaving the Washington Hilton Hotel that John David Hinkley attempted to kill the president. In addition to Reagan’s injuries, White House Press Secretary James Brady, Secret Service agent Tim McCarthy, and police officer Thomas Delahanty were also wounded. Brady was to later die as a result of the injuries suffered that afternoon.

C1426-18, Chaos outside the Washington Hilton Hotel after the assassination attempt on President Reagan. James Brady and police officer Thomas Delahanty lie wounded on the ground. 03/30/1981. Both photos courtesy Ronald Reagan Library


A video discussing the assassination attempt may be seen here. 


The text of President Reagan’s speech is below. 

March 30, 1981

Mr. President, reverend clergy, gentlemen here on the dais, and you ladies and gentlemen:

There’s been a lot of talk in the last several weeks here in Washington about communication and the need to communicate, and the story that I haven’t told for a long time — but somehow it’s been brought back to me since I’ve been here — about communication and some of the basic rules of communication.

It was told to me the first time by Danny Villanueva who used to placekick for the Los Angeles Rams, and then later became a sports announcer, and Danny told me that one night as a sports announcer, he was having a young ballplayer with the Los Angeles Dodgers over to the house for dinner. And the young wife was bustling about getting the dinner ready while he and the ballplayer were talking sports, and the baby started to cry. And over her shoulder, the wife said to her husband, “Change the baby.” And this young ballplayer was embarrassed in front of Danny, and he said to his wife, “What do you mean change the baby? I’m a ballplayer. That’s not my line of work.” And she turned around, out her hands on her hips and she communicated. [Laughter] She said, “Look, buster, you lay the diaper out like a diamond, you put second base on home plate, put the baby’s bottom on the pitcher’s mound, hook up first and third, slide home underneath, and if it starts to rain, the game ain’t called, you start all over again.” [Laughter] So, I’m going to try to communicate a little bit today.

I’m pleased to take part in this national conference of the Building and Construction Trades Department of the AFL-CIO. And I hope you’ll forgive me if I point with some pride to the fact that I’m the first President of the United States to hold a lifetime membership in an AFL-CIO union. And, Mr. President, I’m very grateful for your words about cooperation. Now, if I can only persuade certain individuals up on the Hill to do the same thing, we won’t have any trouble at all.

But members of your organization have played and do play a great part in the building of America. They also are an important part of the industry in which my union plays a part. Now, it’s true that grease paint and make-believe are not tools of your members’ trade, but we all know the meaning of work and of family and of country.

For two decades or more, I participated in renegotiating our basic contract when it came renewal time. And here, too, we have much in common. Sitting at the negotiating table, we were guided by three principles in our demands: Is it good for our people? Is it fair to the other fellow and to the customer? And is it good for the industry?

Samuel Gompers, who founded the American Federation of Labor and who literally gave his life to that cause, said, “Doing for people what they can and ought to do for themselves is a dangerous experiment. In the last analysis the welfare of the workers depends upon their own initiative. Whatever is done under the guise of philanthropy or social morality which in any way lessens initiative is the greatest crime that can be committed against the toilers. Let social busybodies and professional public morals experts in their fads reflect upon the perils they rashly invite under the pretense of social welfare.”

Samuel Gompers was repudiating the socialist philosophy when he made that statement. No one worked harder to get or believed more in a fair shake for the people who sweat as the fuel of our country, but he didn’t believe that this should or could come from government compulsion.

America depends on the work of labor, and the economy we build should reward and encourage that labor as our hope for the future. We’ve strayed far from the path that was charted by this man who believed so much in the freedom and dignity of the worker. We are in today’s economic mess precisely because our leaders have forgotten that we built this great Nation on rewarding the work ethic instead of punishing it.

We’ve gone astray from first principles. We’ve lost sight of the rule that individual freedom and ingenuity are at the very core of everything that we’ve accomplished. Government’s first duty is to protect the people, not run their lives. What have been some of the results of this straying from basic principles? Well, for one, violent crime has surged 10 percent, making neighborhood streets unsafe and families fearful in their homes. We’ve been left with a legacy of almost 8 million people out of work — 666,000 of them construction workers. All of these people have been robbed of a basic human dignity and forced into the humiliation of unemployment. The annual inflation rate has soared to nearly 12 percent, making a mockery of hard work and savings. And our national debt has grown to more than $950 billion despite taxes that eat up an ever-increasing share of the family dollar.

This deficit has particular meaning for you, because when government has to borrow to pay its bills, it competes for private capital, driving interest rates up and construction starts down. So, when people ask me why we have to cut down the budget deficit, I think the answer is pretty clear. If we don’t get control of the budget and stop wild and irresponsible spending, we will repeat past intolerable prime interest rates of more than 20 percent, rates which have played havoc with the lives of your fellow workers. And when we do not have economic security at home, our national security is threatened. We’ve let our defense spending fall behind and our capability to defend ourselves against foreign aggressors is not what it should be. These trends not only must stop, believe me, they will be stopped.

Every American and especially all the working people of our country have an enormous stake in what we do. You pay the most taxes. You believe in a work ethic but subsidize a government that does not. You, who have traditionally saved to provide for your futures, today cannot save. You, who most want to work, are most likely to be laid off. You, through taxes on your hard-earned wages, pay for what could be as much as $25 billion each year in Federal waste, abuse, and outright fraud in government programs. Franklin Delano Roosevelt spoke of “the forgotten man at the bottom of the economic pyramid.” Well, today it’s safe to say that the people at both ends of the pyramid are getting attention. The man who’s forgotten is the fellow who built it.

Such a man wrote his Congressman a few weeks back, and that letter landed on my desk. I’ve gotten tens of thousands of letters about our plan for economic recovery. I appreciate all of them, but a few of them really stand out, and this man’s letter is one of them.

He’s an unemployed factory worker from Illinois, the Peoria area, but he worked in construction for 10 years before that. His income right now is totally dependent on unemployment and supplemental benefits from the company he worked for. He and his wife have only been married three months, but she’s been laid off too. He wrote to say that if spending cuts in government affect his benefits, it’ll be hard for his family, but they’ll make it. And shades of Sam Gompers, he ended his letter saying that when the opponents of our economic plan start lobbying against it — and let me quote — he said, “Let me know that there is someone out here who’s seen what they can do and is willing to stake his future on trying a different approach.”

That man has faith in America and faith in what the American people can do if the government will only let them do it. And that man, like most of America, wants a change.

Right now we have the highest peacetime deficit in living memory. Federal personal taxes for the average American family have gone [up] 58 percent in the last 5 years, and regulations by the government cost consumers an estimated hundred billion dollars a year. The man in Peoria is right. Across the country, there are millions of people like him yearning for a different approach. They’re yearning for us to reach for our hopes and make room for our dreams, and to put it bluntly, they want something different for a change. Instead of halfway solutions, jerry-built programs tied together with redtape, they’re ready for an overhaul to make the engine work again.

I’ve heard the complaints coming often from those who had a hand in creating our present situation. They demand proof in advance that what we’ve proposed will work. Well, the answer to that is we’re living with the proof that what they want to continue doing hasn’t worked and won’t work. I believe what we proposed will work simply because it always has. We must get control of the budget monster, get control of our economy, and I assure you, get control of our own lives and our own destinies.

What has been submitted to the Congress is a four-point comprehensive program or package for economic recovery. If only part of the package is passed by Congress, we’ll only ease some of our problems, and that isn’t a solution at all.

We must first get government spending under control. And let me make something plain. We’re not asking that government spend less than it has been spending, although that might not be the worst idea in the world. We’re simply proposing that government increase its spending in 1982 over 1981 by 6.1 percent, not 14 percent, as has been advocated. If we keep spending at the present rate of increase, our budget will double again in 6 years.

Now, I propose cutting $48.6 billion from the Federal budget in fiscal year ’82. Now it’s true these are the largest spending cuts ever proposed. But even with these cuts, that budget will still increase by $40 billion next year, and there will probably be a $45 billion deficit. Without our cuts, the deficit will be more than $90 billion.

The second point is a 10-percent across-the-board tax rate cut every year for the next three years. This is the most sweeping tax incentive program in the last 20 years, the largest tax rates cuts ever proposed. And again, we’re not asking government to get along on less money than it’s been accustomed to. Our largest-in-history tax cut will only reduce te largest-in-history tax increase that was imposed on all of us at the beginning of this year.

Now, I have a feeling that in all the arguing and rhetoric, many Americans have lost sight of the fact that they’re not facing taxes as usual, but a gigantic tax increase that will take $770 billion extra out of our pockets over the next 6 years. We think that’s too much. This Government, without taking a single vote in Congress, has raised billions of dollars from taxpayers in the last few years, just through inflation. The system keeps kicking people up into higher brackets, that they try to keep up with the cost-of-living increase, bleeding their earnings, sapping their incentive, and quite frankly, making a mockery out of the tax system. Not too long ago, only 3 percent of the people who work and earn in this country were in a 30-percent tax bracket. Today, 33 percent are in that bracket, and they have no more purchasing power now than they had before when they were in a much lower bracket.

There are just too many people in this town who think this money belongs to the Government. Well, it doesn’t. It’s your money. It’s your sons’ and daughters’ money that they’re hoping to use for a new home. It’s your parents’ money that they need for a decent retirement. And if we do nothing else in this administration, we’re going to convince this city that the power, the money, and the responsibility in this country begins and ends with the people and not with some cinderblock building in Washington, D.C.

The third measure we’ve called for is elimination of excessive regulation. Now, I know you have no experience with regulation. [Laughter] Overregulation affects every industry. Many of you know people who are out of work because of the way it affects yours. It’s estimated that total regulations have added as much as 20 percent to the cost of a home. Indeed, I’ve seen the figure more recently put at 22 percent, as the cost.

I’ve told before, I have a neighbor out in my neighborhood in California who was building his own home. And he got so fed up with all the paperwork and the regulations required that he pasted them all together into one strip of paper, put up two poles in front of the half-finished house, and strung them up across there. The strip of paper was 250 feet long.

And, finally, we’re determined to work with the Federal Reserve Board to develop a monetary policy consistent with the economic program designed to stabilize the money supply, reduce inflation, and allow interest rates to come down.

People who hold down jobs in the building trades probably understand better than anyone — well, that is, better than anyone except someone who’s just lost his job in the building trade — the need for a stable monetary policy. Fewer than 1 in 11 American families can afford to buy a new home. Housing starts are down by 36 percent from what they were in 1978. Mortgage rates for this year are averaging 13\1/2\ percent, although I’m told in some parts of the country they’re currently running in excess of 15 percent.

The main source of strength in this fight is going to be the people themselves. The idea is to unleash the American worker, encourage the American investor, and let each of us produce more to make a better life for all. After all, why should we pay for some luxuries that are not truly essential to our well-being, pay by way of a subsidy when the man and his wife in Peoria are out of work? Why should we subsidize increased production of some things that we already have in surplus? And why should we go in debt to pay for school lunches for children of upper-income families when borrowing by government may cost you your job? We not only shouldn’t do those things, we no longer can afford to do them.

We’ll continue to fulfill our obligations to those who must depend on the rest of us. Those who are deserving can rest assured that they’ll not be cut adrift, but the rest of us will feel the impact of the budget cuts, which have been distributed through the economy, as evenly as possible.

There is one area, however, where we must spend more and that is for our national defense. Now, don’t get me wrong. Cap Weinberger, Secretary of Defense, has shown me programs in his department where we can and will realize substantial savings. We’ll cut $2.9 billion in next year’s budget alone, and the cuts will accumulate to more than $28 billion by 1986 in the Defense Department. But those savings will be applied to the necessary things we must do, thus reducing the amount of additional spending that we’ll need.

Since 1970 the Soviet Union has undergone a massive military buildup, far outstripping any need for defense. They’ve spent $300 billion more than we have for military forces resulting in a significant numerical advantage in strategic nuclear delivery systems, tactical aircraft, submarines, artillery, and anti-aircraft defense. And to allow this defense or this imbalance to continue is a threat to our national security. It’s my duty as President, and all of our responsibility as citizens, to keep this country strong enough to remain free.

As union members and as concerned citizens of the world, we watch with great interest the struggle of our fellow workers in Poland. Their courage reminds us not only of the precious liberty that is ours to nourish and protect but of the spirit in each of us everywhere. The Polish workers stand as sentinels on behalf of universal human principles, and they remind us that on this good Earth, the people will always prevail. They serve to show us how trust and unity keep alive the very purpose of our existence and to remind us that man’s work is not only directed at providing physical sustenance but that the toil of men and women everywhere must also have the goal of feeding the spirit of freedom.

As we work to solve our economic problems, let us tap that well of human spirit. We’ll find more than strength of numbers and strength of resources, we’ll find strength of individual determination. We may even find strength in mutual trust. For too many years now, we’ve trusted numbers and computers. We’ve trusted balance sheets, organization charts, policies, and systems. We’ve placed trust in rules, regulations in government, government dictates. Well, I think it’s about time that we placed trust in ourselves.

I’m here today because I salute what you’ve done for America. In your work you build. In your personal lives, you sustain the core of family and neighborhood. In your faith, you sustain our religious principles. And with your strong patriotism, you’re the bulwark which supports an America second to none in the world. I believe the American people are with us in our cause. I’m confident in our ability to work together, to meet and surmount our problems, and to accomplish the goals that we all seek.

Now, I know that we can’t make things right overnight. But we will make them right. Our destiny is not our fate. It is our choice. And I’m asking you as I ask all Americans, in these months of decision, please join me as we take this new path. You and your forebears built this Nation. Now, please help us rebuild it, and together we’ll make America great again.

Thank you very much.

Note: The President spoke at 2:03 p.m. in the International Ballroom at the Washington Hilton Hotel. In his opening remarks, he referred to Robert A. Georgine, president of the AFL-CIO.

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Ronald Reagan Burial Site
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Florida Medal of Honor Recipients

Medal of Honor
Medal of Honor
The Medal of Honor has been accredited to Florida only 23 times. Image courtesy US Department of Defense

The Medal of Honor is the highest award for military valor in action. In over 150 years, the Medal has been awarded just over 3,500 times. When originally issued during the Civil War the Medal did not have the same level of stature that it does today. In fact, over 1,500 Medals were awarded during the Civil War alone. When one considers the millions of men and women who have worn military uniforms, it is easy to see the special actions it takes to receive this award.

The official name is the Medal of Honor. Because Congress created the award, it is sometimes mistakenly called the Congressional Medal of Honor. The Congressional Medal of Honor Society, chartered by Congress and thus the name, has an explanation of this misnomer.

States receive accreditation for awards based upon the state where a soldier enlists. The state of Florida is accredited with twenty-three Medal of Honor recipients. As I write brief biographies of these men, they will show as linked below allowing you read about them and the actions that garnered them such acclaim.

Charles Albert Varnum           Captain                                        Army                          Indian Wars

Clarence M. Condon              Sergeant                                      Army                         Philippine War

Francis Edward Ormsbee, Jr.   Chief Machinist’s Mate                    Navy                          World War I

William Merrill Corry, Jr.      Lieutenant Commander                      Navy                          World War I

Alexander R. Nininger, Jr.      Second Lieutenant                           Army                           World War II

James Henry Mills               Private                                           Army                           World War II

David McCampbell                Commander                                  Navy                            World War II

Robert Edward Femoyer           Second Lieutenant                     Air Corps                      World War II

Thomas B. McGuire, Jr.          Major                                           Air Corps                      World War II

Robert M. McTureious, Jr.       Private                                         Marine Corps                World War II

Baldomero Lopez                 First Lieutenant                             Marine Corps                Korean War

Emory L. Bennett                Private First Class                          Army                             Korean War

Robert R. Ingram                Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class            Navy                            Vietnam War

Larry Eugene Smedley            Corporal                                   Marine Corps                  Vietnam War

Clifford Chester Sims           Staff Sergeant                               Army                           Vietnam War

Nicholas J. Cutinha             Specialist 4th Class                          Army                            Vietnam War

Clyde Everett Lassen            Lieutenant Junior Grade                  Navy                             Vietnam War

Robert H. Jenkins, Jr.          Private First Class                             Marine Corps                   Vietnam War

Hammett L. Bowen, Jr.           Staff Sergeant                             Army                              Vietnam War

Bruce Wayne Carter              Private First Class                        Army                              Vietnam War

Ardie R. Copas                  Sergeant                                       Army                              Vietnam War

Paul R. Smith                   Sergeant First Class                         Army                                Iraq

Robert J. Miller                Staff Sergeant                                  Army                              Afghanistan


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Historic Lake Monroe Bridge in Sanford, Florida

Marker with the bridge in background
Lake Monroe Historic Marker
The front side of the Lake Monroe Bridge in Sanford, Florida Historic Marker
Lake Monroe Bridge marker
The backside of the Lake Monroe historic marker
Marker with the bridge in background
The old Lake Monroe Bridge with the historic marker showing in front.


Marker Text

The Lake Monroe Bridge was the first electronically operated swing bridge in Florida. In 1932-1933, the
state used Federal assistance to build the bridge, which replaced a wooden toll bridge that was manually
operated. The construction of the bridge provided economic relief for an area hurt by the economic
collapse of the Depression era. The bridge was fabricated by Ingalls Iron Works of Birmingham, Alabama;
the swing machinery manufactured by Earl’s Gears and Machine Co., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; and it
was erected by W. W. White Steel Construction of St. Petersburg, Florida. Kreis Contracting Company of
Knoxville, Tennessee was the general contractor for the Florida Department of Transportation. The
Florida Department of Transportation and Seminole County cooperated in preserving the swing span as
a fishing pier when the new Benedict Bridge was completed in 1994.

The Lake Monroe Bridge had historic impact on the communities of the area, but also is of historical
value as an example of a branch of bridge engineering.

The Lake Monroe Bridge was 627 feet, and included a 235 foot swing span. It carried the main route
linking Daytona Beach and Tampa, via DeLand, Sanford, Orlando, and Lakeland. It could pivot 360
degrees on its curved rack and two spur pinions.

The Warren-type through truss construction had a central panel section peaked to accommodate the
drive machinery. The Warren-type truss is considered the most economical type of construction for
continuous spans. It is characterized by diagonals that alternate in direction. The first diagonal beam
starts at base level and goes up to the top. The next level diagonal starts at the top and goes down to
the base level. The diagonals are in tension and compression in alternate panels. To meet the heavy
stresses of the swing span operation the bridge arms were heavily reinforced and had riveted
connections at all stress points. The harbor for Lake Monroe Park in Volusia County was created by fill
taken from the approaches to the Lake Monroe Bridge.

Seminole County Board of County Commissioners

This marker is not part of the State of Florida historic marker program.

Lake Monroe Bridge dedication April 6, 1934
The April 6, 1934 Lake Monroe Bridge dedication. Image courtesy Florida Memory n028431


Local newspaper reports state that dedication of the $75,000 Bridge took place at a 3 p.m. ceremony on
April 6, 1934. Participants included Florida Governor David Sholtz and the Stetson University band. An image of the dedication is shown above.

Lake Monroe Bridge Sanford, FLSee some beautiful early images of Sanford, FL in this title from the Images of America Series. From its days as a leading river town, to being the Celery Capital, to being the home to many incredible mid-century modern homes, Sanford has an incredible history.

Also recommended is African Americans of Sanford, which recognizes and applauds those who have helped to preserve Sanford’s history as well as those who have participated in making it.



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Surrender at Appomattox Courthouse April 9, 1865

Surrender at Appomattox April 9, 1865
Surrender at Appomattox by Keith Rocco
“The Surrender” by contemporary artist, Keith Rocco, is based upon research by National Park Service historians and curators.
NPS Image
Surrender at Appomattox April 9, 1865
“The surrender of Lee,” Appomattox C.H., Va., April 9th, 1865 Courtesy:

The first document text below is of the original draft of the surrender terms given to Lee for review by Grant on the 9th of April, 1865. In this draft Lee added the word “exchanged” after “properly,” which Grant had left out.

Appomattox C.H. Va.                                                                                                                                          Apl. 9th 1865
Gen R.E. Lee
Comd’g C.S.A.


In accordance with the substance of my letter to you of the 8th instant, I propose to receive the surrender of the Army of N. Va. on the following terms; to wit:

Rolls of all the officers and men to be made in duplicate one copy to be given to an officer designated by me, the other to be retained by such officer or officers as you may designate. The officers to give their individual paroles not to take up arms against the Government of the United States until properly exchanged and each company or regimental commander sign a like parole for the men of their commands.

The arms, artillery, and public property are to be parked and stacked and turned over to the officer appointed by me to receive them. This will not embrace the side arms of the officers, nor their private horses or baggage. This done officers and man will be allowed to return to their homes not to be disturbed by United States authority so long as they observe their parole and the laws in force where they may reside.

Very respectfully,

U.S. Grant, Lieutenant-General.

Civil War Monitor
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This is the final version of a letter written by Lieutenant Colonel Charles Marshall for Lee. This is Lee’s acceptance letter to Grant’s terms of surrender.

Headquarters Army N. Va
April 9th, 1865
Lieut-Gen. U.S. Grant,
Commanding Armies of the U.S.


I have received your letter of this date containing the terms of surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia as proposed by you. As they are substantially the same as those expressed in your letter of the 8th instant, they are accepted. I will proceed to designate the proper officers to carry the stipulations into effect.

Very respectfully,

Your obedient servant,

R.E. Lee

General Order #9 is Lee’s farewell order given to his soldiers.

Hd Quarters Army of Nor: Va.
10, April. 1865.


No. 9

After four years of arduous service marked by unsurpassed courage and fortitude, the Army of Northern Virginia has been compelled to yield to overwhelming numbers and resources.

I need not tell the brave survivors of so many hard fought battles, who have remained steadfast to the last,that I have consented to this result from no distrust of them.

But feeling that valor and devotion could accomplish nothing that would compensate for the loss that must have attended the continuance of the contest, I determined to avoid the useless sacrifice of those whose past services have endeared them to their countrymen.

By the terms of the agreement officers and men can return to their homes and remain until exchanged. You will take with you the satisfaction that proceeds from the consciousness of duty faithfully performed, and I earnestly pray that a merciful God will extend to you His blessing and protection.

With an increasing admiration of your constancy and devotion to your country, and a grateful remembrance of your kind and generous considerations for myself, I bid you all an affectionate farewell.




The information above is respectfully used from the National Park Service. For further information I recommend visiting the National Park Service website for  Appomattox Court House.

For further reading on the final days of the war and the surrender at Appomattox Courthouse, by Robert E. Lee and the Army of Northern Virginia, I recommend the following books:

Appomattox Victory Defeat and Freedom
Surrender at Appomattox CourthouseAppomattox: Victory, Defeat, and Freedom at the End of the Civil War written by Elizabeth R. Varon

In Appomattox, Varon deftly captures the events swirling around that well remembered-but not well understood-moment when the Civil War ended. She expertly depicts the final battles in Virginia, when Grant’s troops surrounded Lee’s half-starved army, the meeting of the generals at the McLean House, and the shocked reaction as news of the surrender spread like an electric charge throughout the nation. But as Varon shows, the ink had hardly dried before both sides launched a bitter debate over the meaning of the war and the nation’s future. For Grant, and for most in the North, the Union victory was one of right over wrong, a vindication of free society; for many African Americans, the surrender marked the dawn of freedom itself. Lee, in contrast, believed that the Union victory was one of might over right: the vast impersonal Northern war machine had worn down a valorous and unbowed South. Lee was committed to peace, but committed, too, to the restoration of the South’s political power within the Union and the perpetuation of white supremacy. These two competing visions of the war’s end paved the way not only for Southern resistance to reconstruction but also our ongoing debates on the Civil War, 150 years later.

A Stillness at Appomattox by Bruce CattonA Stillness at Appomattox (Army of the Potomac, Vol. 3) written by Bruce Catton

In this final volume of the Army of the Potomac Trilogy, Catton, America’s foremost Civil War historian, takes the reader through the battles of the Wilderness, the Bloody Angle, Cold Harbot, the Crater, and on through the horrible months to one moment at Appomattox. Grant, Meade, Sheridan, and Lee vividly come to life in all their failings and triumphs.





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Eulogy Delivered at the Capitol During the State Funeral of General Eisenhower March 30, 1969

Richard Nixon eulogizes Dwight Eisenhower

On March 30, 1969 President Richard Nixon eulogized former president, and World War II hero, Dwight Eisenhower. The body of the former president lie in state in the Capitol Rotunda before being transported to its final resting place in Abilene, Kansas on April 2. The text of President Nixon’s eulogy is below.

Richard Nixon eulogizes Dwight Eisenhower President Richard Nixon Speaking as Former President Dwight D. Eisenhower Lie in State in the Capitol Building Rotunda

Mrs. Eisenhower, Your Excellencies, friends of Dwight David Eisenhower in America and throughout the world:

We gather today in mourning, but also in gratitude.

We mourn Dwight Eisenhower’s death, but we are grateful for his life.

We gather, also, conscious of the fact that in paying tribute to Dwight Eisenhower, we celebrate greatness. When we think of his place in history, we think, inevitably, of the other giants of those days of World War II; and we think of the qualities of greatness and what his were that made his unique among all.

Once, perhaps without intending to do so, he, himself, put his finger on it. It was 1945, shortly after VE-Day, at a ceremony in London’s historic Guildhall. The triumphant Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces in Europe was officially given the Freedom of the City of London.

In an eloquent address that day, Dwight Eisenhower said: “I come from the heart of America.”

Perhaps no one sentence could better sum up what Dwight Eisenhower meant to a whole
generation of Americans. He did come from the heart of America, not only from its geographical
heart, but from its spiritual heart.

He exemplified what millions of parents hoped that their sons would be: strong and courageous and
honest and compassionate. And with his own great qualities of heart, he personified the best in

It is, I think, a special tribute to Dwight Eisenhower that despite all of his honors, despite all of his
great deeds and his triumphs, we find ourselves today thinking, first, not of his deeds but of his
character. It was the character of the man, not what he did, but what he was that so captured the
trust and faith and affection of his own people and of the people of the world.

Dwight Eisenhower touched something fundamental in America which only a man of immense force
of mind and spirit could have brought so vibrantly alive. He was a product of America’s soil and of its
ideals, driven by a compulsion to do right and to do well; a man of deep faith who believed in God
and trusted in His will; a man who truly loved his country and for whom words like “freedom” and
“democracy” were not cliches, but they were living truths.

I know Mrs. Eisenhower would permit me to share with you the last words he spoke to her on the
day he died. He said: “I have always loved my wife. I have always loved my children. I have always
loved my grandchildren. And I have always loved my country.” That was Dwight Eisenhower.

He was a man who gave enormously of himself. His way of relaxing from the intense pressures of
office or command was to do something else intensely, whether as a fierce competitor on the golf
course or executing one of those hauntingly beautiful paintings that he did with such meticulous
care. But even more than this, he gave enormously of himself to people. People loved Dwight
Eisenhower. But the other side of this coin was that he loved people.

He had the great leader’s capacity to bring out the best in people. He had the great humanist’s
capacity to inspire people, to cheer them, to give them lift.

I remember, for example, just a few months ago when I asked all of the members of the Cabinet to
go out and call on him. And each of them returned with wonder and admiration and said: “You know,
I went out there to cheer him up and instead I found he cheered me up.”

His great love of people was rooted in his faith. He had a deep faith in the goodness of God and in
the essential goodness of man as a creature of God.

This feeling toward people had another side. In the political world, strong passions are the norm and
all too often these turn toward personal vindictiveness. People often disagreed with Dwight
Eisenhower, but almost nobody ever hated him. And this, I think, was because he, himself, was a
man who did not know how to hate.

Oh, he could be aroused by a cause, but he could not hate a person. He could disagree strongly,
even passionately, but never personally.

When people disagreed with him, he never thought of them as enemies. He simply thought: “Well,
they don’t agree with me.”

I remember time after time, when critics of one sort or another were misrepresenting him or reviling
him, he would sit back in his chair and with that wonderful half-smile and half-frown, he would say: “I
am puzzled by those fellows.” And he was genuinely puzzled by frenzy and by hate. Because he
was incapable of it himself, he could never quite understand it in others.

The last time I saw him that was what he talked about. He was puzzled by the hatreds he had seen
in our times. And he said the thing the world needs most today is understanding, an ability to see the
other person’s point of view and not to hate him because he disagrees. That was Dwight

And yet, of course, he was more than all that. He had a side more evident to those of us who worked
with him than to the rest of the world. He was a strong man. He was shrewd. He was decisive.
Time and again I have seen him make decisions that probably made the difference between war and
peace for America and the world.

That was always when he was at his best. No matter how heated the arguments were, he was
always then the coolest man in the room.

Dwight Eisenhower was that rarest of men, an authentic hero.

Wars bring the names of many men into the headlines and of those some few become national or
even international heroes. But as the years then pass, their fame goes down.

But not so with Dwight Eisenhower. As the years passed, his stature grew: Commander of the
mightiest expeditionary force ever assembled, receiver of the surrender of the German Armies in
World War II, president of Columbia University, Supreme Commander of NATO, 34th President of
the United States. The honors, the offices were there in abundance. Every trust that the American
people had it in their power to bestow, he was given.

And, yet, he always retained a saving humility. His was the humility not of fear but of confidence. He
walked with the great of the world, and he knew that the great are human. His was the humility of
man before God and before the truth. His was the humility of a man too proud to be arrogant.

The pursuit of peace was uppermost in his mind when he ran for the Presidency. And it was
uppermost in his conduct of that office. And it is a tribute to his skill and determination that not since
the 1930’s has the Nation enjoyed so long a period of peace, both at home and abroad, as the one
that began in 1953 and continued through his Presidency.

As Commander of the mightiest allied force ever assembled, he was the right man at the right place
at the right time. And as President, once again he was the right man at the right place at the right

He restored calm to a divided nation. He gave Americans a new measure of self-respect. He
invested his office with dignity and respect and trust. He made Americans proud of their President,
proud of their country, proud of themselves. And if we in America were proud of Dwight Eisenhower,
it was partly because he made us proud of America.

He came from the heart of America. And he gave expression to the heart of America, and he
touched the hearts of the world.

Many leaders are known and respected outside their own countries. Very few are loved outside their
own countries. Dwight Eisenhower was one of those few. He was probably loved by more people in
more parts of the world than any President America has ever had.

He captured the deepest feelings of free men everywhere. The principles he believed in, the ideals
he stood for, these were bigger than his own country.

Perhaps he himself put it best again in that Guildhall speech in 1945. He said then: “Kinship among
nations is not determined in such measurements as proximity, size and age. Rather, we should turn
to those inner things–call them what you will–I mean those intangibles that are the real treasures
free men possess.

“To preserve his freedom of worship, his equality before law, his liberty to speak and act as he sees
fit, subject only to provisions that he trespass not upon similar rights of others–a Londoner will fight.
So will a citizen of Abilene.

“When we consider these things, then the Valley of the Thames draws closer to the farms of Kansas
and the plains of Texas.”

Some men are considered great because they lead great armies or they lead powerful nations: For 8
years now, Dwight Eisenhower has neither commanded an army nor led a nation. And, yet, he
remained through his final days the world’s most admired and respected man–truly, the first citizen
of the world.

As we marvel at this, it leads us once again to ponder the mysteries of greatness. Dwight
Eisenhower’s greatness derived not from his office, but from his character, from a unique moral force
that transcended national boundaries, even as his own deep concern for humanity transcended
national boundaries.

His life reminds us that there is a moral force in this world more powerful than the might of arms or
the wealth of nations. This man who led the most powerful armies that the world has ever seen, this
man who led the most powerful nation in the world, this essentially good and gentle and kind man–
that moral force was his greatness.

For a quarter of a century to the very end of his life Dwight Eisenhower exercised a moral authority
without parallel in America and in the world. And America and the world are better because of it.

And so today we render our final salute. It is a fond salute to a man we loved and cherished. It is a
grateful salute to a man whose whole extraordinary life was consecrated to service. It is a profoundly
respectful salute to a man larger than life who by any standard was one of the giants of our time.

Each of us here will have a special memory of Dwight Eisenhower.

I can see him now standing erect, straight, proud, and tall 16 years ago as he took the oath of office
as the 34th President of the United States of America.

We salute Dwight David Eisenhower standing there in our memories, first in war, first in peace, and,
wherever freedom is cherished, first in the hearts of his fellow men.

You may read more about the various funeral processions and services that took place in honor of President Eisenhower through this link.

You may view a video of the Eisenhower funeral procession in Washington D. C. through this link.

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