"To Secure the Blessings of Liberty"
Dear Fellow American Citizen
When reflecting on current events, how often have you pondered: What would the Founders think? or even exclaim? What would George Washington say today?
Those extraordinary men of the 18th Century who were the first to codify the concept of God-given individual liberty created a government to protect and perpetuate that liberty. The leader of those world-changing achievements, George Washington, became the Father of his Country, the most prominent figure of his century and of the second millennium. He was instrumental in winning our inheritance, the greatest political gift in the history of the world, self-government.
Washington lived during the mid-point of American history. Half way between Columbus' discovery and the impending new century, George Washington's self- disciplined studies ranged from surveying to world history. As a young man he copied, in his own hand, the esteemed Rules of Civility. He kept and used them as a guide to his character and development. What an edifying experience it would be if we could but read his observations about our day and times. Motivated by this thought, members of Patriotic Education Inc. have composed a message after his style, one that Washington might offer his countrymen today.
The exercise has prompted us to a new action.We are committed to gird America's Founders and founding principles with renewed respect. Washington's letter merits thoughtful review. PEI earnestly enlists your involvement and participation in support of this generation's all important mission: ". . . to secure the Blessings of Liberty to .. . . Posterity."
Friends & Fellow Citizens:
With this salutation I greeted you last in September of 1796. I address you now with equal esteem, felicity and admiration. We who were under arms during The War for American Independence and we who were in the Constitutional Convention chamber knew that your task of preserving Liberty would be as difficult and hazardous as were our missions. We knew not then, nor do we now know, how long you and your descendants can keep the flame alight.
History taught us a democracy would survive but 200 years. That awareness influenced our creation of the world's first democratic republic. As our beloved senior statesman left the final session of the Convention, a lady asked: "Mr. Franklin, what have you given us?" He replied: "A republic, Madam, if you can keep it!" You have kept it for over 200 years, against great odds. Congratulations, but rest not on your laurels. Be eternally vigilant! Few men have experienced freedom in the long travail of history. Both misunderstood and coveted, Liberty will ever be under attack. God forbid that it be lost by you or your progeny. Once gone, if ever regained, it will be by the inch.
As you and your descendants move this God-gifted nation through the decades of time, as generations of new citizens face the rise of contrary concepts, it will become more difficult to maintain a solid dedication to the ideas and ideals in which this noble and historic experiment is anchored. Be cautious, the risk is great as you savour the fruits of the system; be not seduced by the belief that it was always thus and will always be thus. Mother History teaches to the contrary. Civilizations rise and fall. None remain forever dominant. All great nations before us have fallen. America must not! Successive generations require an illuminated appreciation of their roots in Liberty, and a bond with the flesh-and-blood heroes Freedom has given you. Nourish those generations with the self-evident truths the Founders distilled into the documents which define their birthright, guarantee their Liberty, and for which all men thirst. The mission must be undertaken in the volunteer spirit and in the private sector. Informed, patriotically inspired parents and teachers daily strive to help young citizens know, love and serve America. They search for tools and help! Patriotic Education Incorporated is uniquely positioned to assist and must lead in this service. The Founders gave you one charge: "... . secure the Blessings of Liberty to . . . Posterity."The assignment, as America approaches a new century and millennium, is in your trusted and capable hands. I pray the blessings of Almighty God upon you and our nation.I have the honor to be with sentiments of esteem.
Sir your most obed. serv. G.W