Write Again … The better angels

Published 7:49 pm Friday, August 31, 2018

By your leave, please allow me to share with you some wisdom gleaned from speeches given on Inauguration Day by several former presidents.

Regardless of your personal political perspective, I think you will find these speech excerpts interesting, and even inspiring.

“I am loath to close. We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.” Abraham Lincoln, 1861

“With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.” Abraham Lincoln, 1865

“If we fail, the cause of free self-government throughout the world will rock to its foundations, and therefore our responsibility is heavy, to ourselves, to the world as it is today, and to the generations yet unborn.” Theodore Roosevelt, 1905

“This great nation will endure as it has endured, will revive and prosper. So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself — nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.” Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1933

Then there was that young president who challenged us to “Ask not what your country can do for you. Rather, ask what you can do for your country,” on that bright and very cold day on Jan. 20, 1961.

It was also a very cold day in Germany, and I was listening to the event on Armed Forces Network radio. It was late afternoon there.

These presidents speak to us across the years.

And yes, they speak to “the better angels of our nature.”