Grover Cleveland served two terms as President of the United States – 1885-89 and 1893-97. He had high ideals for America. He called it “the land that lives in us.” Among the patriotic speeches he wrote and gave, one addressed that theme. He said, in part:
“Our country is infinitely more than a domain affording to those who dwell upon it immense material advantages and opportunities. In such a country we live. But I love to think of a glorious nation built upon the will of free men, set apart for propagation and cultivation of humanity’s best ideal of a free government, and made ready for the growth and fruitage of the brightest aspirations of patriotism. This is the country that lives in us.
“I indulge in no mere figure of speech when I say that our nation, the immortal spirit of our domain, lives in us – in our hearts and minds and conscience. There it must find its nutriment or die. This thought more than any other presents to our minds the impressiveness and responsibility of American citizenship.
“The land we live in seems to be strong and active. But how fares the land that lives in us? Are we sure that we are doing all that we ought, to keep it in vigor and health? Are we keeping its roots well surrounded by the fertile soil of loving allegiance, and are we furnishing them the invigorating moisture of unselfish fidelity? Are we as diligent as we ought to be to protect the poison that must arise from the decay of harmony and honesty and industry and frugality; and are we sufficiently watching against the deadly burrowing pest of consuming greed and cankerous cupidity?
“Our answers to these questions make up the account of our stewardship as keepers of a sacred trust.” (from Tuesday Mornings newsletter by Tom Barnard)
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