Page 166 - TAGR-Companion Text
P. 166

82 understanding that his act would turn thousands of friends and political
83 supporters against him. He knew, too, that the carrying out of that proclamation
84 would mean death to thousands of men on the battlefield. In the end, it cost
85 Lincoln his life. That required courage.
86 Socrates' decision to drink the cup of poison, rather than compromise in his
87 personal belief, was a decision of courage. It turned Time ahead a thousand
88 years, and gave to people then unborn, the right to freedom of thought and of
89 speech.
90 The decision of Gen. Robert E. Lee, when he came to the parting of the way
91 with the Union, and took up the cause of the South, was a decision of courage,
92 for he well knew that it might cost him his own life, that it would surely cost the
93 lives of others.
94 But, the greatest decision of all time, as far as any American citizen is concerned,
95 was reached in Philadelphia, July 4, 1776, when fifty-six men signed their names
96 to a document, which they well knew would bring freedom to all Americans, or
97 leave every one of the fifty-six hanging from a gallows!
98 You have heard of this famous document, but you may not have drawn from it
99 the great lesson in personal achievement it so plainly taught.
100 We all remember the date of this momentous decision, but few of us realize what
101 courage that decision required. We remember our history, as it was taught; we
102 remember dates, and the names of the men who fought; we remember Valley
103 Forge, and Yorktown; we remember George Washington, and Lord Cornwallis.
104 But we know little of the real forces back of these names, dates, and places. We
105 know still less of that intangible POWER, which insured us freedom long before
106 Washington's armies reached Yorktown.
107 We read the history of the Revolution, and falsely imagine that George Washing-
108 ton was the Father of our Country, that it was he who won our freedom, while
109 the truth is Washington was only an accessory after the fact, because victory for

   164   165   166   167   168