The Inaugural Address, 2009: Together with Abraham Lincoln's First and Second Inaugural Addresses and The Gettysburg Address and Ralph Waldo Emerson's Self-Reliance Hardcover – Feb 4 2009
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Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
From The Inaugural Address, 2009 by Barack Obama:
We remain a young nation, but in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things. The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.
In reaffirming the greatness of our nation, we understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned. Our journey has never been one of short-cuts or settling for less. It has not been the path for the faint-hearted —for those who prefer leisure over work, or seek only the pleasures of riches and fame. Rather, it has been the risk takers, the doers, the makers of things —some celebrated, but more often men and women obscure in their labor—who have carried us up the long, rugged path towards prosperity and freedom.
From The Gettysburg Address by Abraham Lincoln:
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.
From “Self-Reliance”by Ralph Waldo Emerson:
Let us affront and reprimand the smooth mediocrity and squalid contentment of the times, and hurl in the face of custom and trade and office, the fact which is the upshot of all history, that there is a great responsible Thinker and Actor working wherever a man works; that a true man belongs to no other time or place, but is the centre of things. Where he is, there is nature. He measures you and all men and all events. Ordinarily, every body in society reminds us of somewhat else, or of some other person. Character, reality, reminds you of nothing else; it takes place of the whole creation.
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President Barack Hussein Obama pledges: "We remain a young nation, but in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things. The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness."
Thusly does our President set the difficult path we must walk in order to survive and to serve.
In this volume we may study carefully the brilliant words of our President, words each true American takes to heart, simple words from a brilliant leader. We find cornerstone phrases from past American leaders, in particular the Gettysburg Address, an earnest and simple cry for peace spoken by President Abraham Lincoln in the very heart of horrible war. We find here as well President Lincoln's First and Second Inaugural Addresses.
Above all we may here once more, and with renewed urgency, meditate the great essay by early American Transcendentalist philosopher and preacher, Ralph Waldo Emerson on Self-Reliance, an early indication of the heart and the spirit of America we do very well to restore, in order to restore our nation along the plan outlined in President Obama's great Inaugural Address.
We are fortunate therefore to find gathered under one cover these quintessentially American addresses, a collection which must grace each American hearth for daily reflection in these coming days.
Read this book. Every home in America must have this one book. Certainly we can watch President Obama's First Inaugural Address on the Internet, probably even on youtube, but we cannot hold it in our heart and hands as we can this book, with family and friends and loved ones gathered about us. We must read this book; we must read it together, and we must work together for the fulfillment of this dream for our survival in hope. As our President puts it so very well:
"With hope and virtue, let us brave once more the icy currents, and endure what storms may come. Let it be said by our children's children that when we were tested we refused to let this journey end, that we did not turn back nor did we falter; and with eyes fixed on the horizon and God's grace upon us, we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations.
Thank you. God bless you. And God bless the United States of America."
The Gettysburg address in particular is still a stirring speech.
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