COOLIDGE, Calvin. Typed manuscript signed (''Calvin Coolidge'') as President, a copy of the President's Memorial Day Address, n.p., 14 July 1927. 21 1/3 pages, 8vo (8 15/16 x 6¼ in.), four leaves with printed photographic portraits of Coolidge, in fine condition. [With:] A 1½ page typed excerpt of an Albany Knickerbocker editorial on the speech.
COOLIDGE, Calvin. Typed manuscript signed ("Calvin Coolidge") as President, a copy of the President's Memorial Day Address, n.p., 14 July 1927. 21 1/3 pages, 8vo (8 15/16 x 6¼ in.), four leaves with printed photographic portraits of Coolidge, in fine condition. [With:] A 1½ page typed excerpt of an Albany Knickerbocker editorial on the speech.
THE PRESIDENT'S MEMORIAL DAY ADDRESS: "WE CAN BE A MORAL FORCE IN THE WORLD...[IF] WE ESTABLISH MORALITY IN OUR OWN COUNTRY"
In 1868, a national day of remembrance was established to honor those who died in the Civil War. By the 20th century, Memorial Day had been expanded to include the nation's war dead from every conflict in which she had been engaged. In 1927, President Calvin Coolidge spoke before a Memorial Day crowd gathered at Arlington Cemetery. He begins with a grand statement of the meaning of the day: "In no other country could the people feel, in performing a like ceremony, that they were engaged in a more worthy purpose...The pages of [our] history are not stained with the blood of unprovoked conflict...When our military forces have taken the field it has been to enlarge the area of self-government, to extend the scope of freedom, and to defend the principles of liberty...We can not contemplate these graves...without a deep consciousness that they have placed upon us an obligation to take a firmer resolution that their sacrifices are to have an influence on our conduct."
Coolidge warns his audience that "However much we wish to pursue the paths of peace...we can not escape the fact that there are still evil forces in the world" but assures them that his preference is for diplomacy over force: "We want our relationship with other nations based not on a meeting of bayonets, but on a meeting of minds...we can afford to let our patience be commensurate with our power." Coolidge asserts that America must direct the world towards peace: "we wish to discard the element of force and compulsion in international agreements and conduct and rely on reason and law." He further affirms that to lead the world in peace, they must set the model at home: "If we desire to be an influence in order and law...we must be determined to make sufficient sacrifices to live by these precepts at home. We can be a moral force in the world only to the extent that we establish morality in our own country." Coolidge concludes: "We have made our place in the world through the Union and the Constitution...We can not leave this hallowed ground...without realizing anew that it was the spirit of those who rest here which gave us our independence, our constitution, our union, and our freedom. They have bequeathed to us the rarest, richest heritage which was ever bestowed upon any people."
Provenance: Kenneth W. Rendell, 1992.