Tuesday, March 01, 2005
Read now, with a "purple-fingered" revolution underway in the Middle East, the speech underscores the momentous challenge we have been presented:
Bush asks his fellow citizens to continue in patience to bear the burdens imposed upon our generation. He recalls that our efforts have in "lit a fire as well — a fire in the minds of men" in Afghanistan, Ukraine, the Palestinian territories, and Iraq. This phrase seems to echo George Washington, who observed that "the preservation of the sacred fire of liberty, and the destiny of the Republican model of Government, are justly considered as deeply, perhaps as finally staked, on the experiment entrusted to the hands of the American people.
The president accordingly invites the nation's "youngest citizens" to behold the nobility of service:
For the character of a nation is its greatest treasure, and the richest promise for its future.
"You have seen that life is fragile, and evil is real, and courage triumphs. Make the choice to serve in a cause larger than your wants, larger than yourself — and in your days you will add not just to the wealth of our country, but to its character."
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