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  • I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America,

  • and to the republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

  • Narrator: In the jungles of New Guinea,

  • on the barren shores of the Aleutians,

  • in the tropic heat of the Pacific Islands,

  • in the subzero cold of the skies over Germany,

  • in Burma and Iceland,

  • the Philippines and Iran,

  • France,

  • in China and Italy,

  • Americans fighting.

  • Fighting over an area extending seven-eighths of the way around the world.

  • Men from the green hills of New England;

  • the sun-baked plains of the Middle West;

  • the cotton fields of the South;

  • the close-packed streets of Manhattan, Chicago;

  • the teeming factories of Detroit, Los Angeles;

  • the endless stretching distances of the Southwest;

  • men from the hills and from the plains;

  • from the villages and from the cities;

  • bookkeepers; soda jerks; mechanics; college students;

  • rich man; poor man; beggar man; thief;

  • doctor; lawyer; merchant; chief.

  • Now veteran fighting men.

  • Yet two years ago many had never fired a gun or seen the ocean or been off the ground.

  • Americans, fighting for their country while half a world away from it.

  • Fighting for their country, and for more than their country.

  • Fighting for an idea, the idea bigger than the country.

  • Without the idea the country might have remained only a wilderness.

  • Without the country, the idea might have remained only a dream.

  • Chorus: [Singing]

  • Narrator: Over this ocean.

  • 1607, Jamestown.

  • 1620, Plymouth Rock.

  • Here was America: the sea, the sky, the virgin continent.

  • We came in search of freedom, facing unknown dangers rather than bend the knee or bow to tyranny.

  • Out of the native oak and pine we built a house, a church, a watchtower.

  • We cleared a field, and there grew up a colony of free citizens.

  • We carved new states out of the green wilderness: Virginia, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Carolina.

  • Then came the first test in the defense of that liberty: 1775, Lexington.

  • Our leaders spoke our deepest needs:

  • Colonists are by the law of nature free-born, as indeed all men are!”

  • It is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute new government.”

  • These are the times that try men’s souls.”

  • But as for me, give me liberty or give me death!”

  • In the midst of battle, it happened. The idea grew, the idea took form.

  • Something new was expressed by men, a new and revolutionary doctrine, the greatest creative force in human relations:

  • all men are created equal, all men are entitled to the blessings of Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

  • That’s the goal we set for ourselves.

  • Defeat meant hanging. Victory meant a world in which Americans rule themselves.

  • 1777, Valley Forge.

  • We fought and froze, suffered and died, for what?

  • For the future freedom of all Americans.

  • A few of us doubted and despaired. Most of us prayed and endured all.

  • 1781, Yorktown.

  • Now we were a free independent nation.

  • The new idea had won its first test. Now to pass it on to future Americans.

  • The Constitution, the sacred charter ofWe the People,”

  • the blood and sweat ofWe the People,”

  • the life, liberty, and happiness ofWe the People.”

  • The people were to rule.

  • Not some of the people, not the best people or the worst, not the rich people or the poor,

  • butWe the People,” all the people.

  • In this brotherhood America was born, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

  • We began as 13 states along the Atlantic seaboard.

  • We pushed across the Alleghenies, the Ohio River, the Mississippi, the last far range of the distant Rockies.

  • We carried freedom with us.

  • No aristocratic classes here, no kings, no nobles or princes, no state church, no courts, no parasites, no divine right of man to rule a man.

  • Here humanity was making a clean fresh start from scratch.

  • Behind us we left new states, chips off the old blocks welded together by freedom.

  • Chorus: ♪ My country, 'tis of thee, ♪ ♪ Sweet land of liberty, ♪

  • Of thee I sing; ♪

  • Land where my fathers died, ♪ ♪ Land of the pilgrims' pride, ♪

  • From every mountainside ♪ ♪ Let freedom ring! ♪

  • Narrator: Until finally we were one nation, a land of hope and opportunity that had arisen out of a skeptical world.

  • A light was shining, freedom’s light.

  • From every country and every clime, men saw that light and turned their faces toward it.

  • Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.

  • The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

  • Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!

  • As strangers to one another we came and built a country, and the country built us into Americans.

  • The sweat of the men of old nations was poured out to build a new.

  • The sweat of our first settlers: the English, the Scotch, the Dutch, building the workshop of New England;

  • of the Italian in the sulfur mines of Louisiana;

  • of the Frenchmen and the Swiss in the vineyards of California and New York state;

  • of the Dane, the Norwegian, the Swede, seeding the good earth to make the Midwest bloom with grain;

  • of the Pole and the Welshman;

  • of the Negro harvesting cotton in the hot Southern sun;

  • of the Spaniard, the first to roam the great Southwest;

  • of the Mexican in the oil fields of Texas and on the ranches of New Mexico;

  • of the Greek and the Portuguese, harvesting the crop the oceans yield;

  • of the German with his technical skill;

  • of the Hungarian and the Russian;

  • of the Irishman, the Slav, and the Chinese working side-by-side

  • the sweat of Americans. And a great nation was built.

  • [Music]

  • Yes, the sweat of the men of all nations built Americaand the blood.

  • For the blood of Americans has been freely shed.

  • Five times in our history have we withstood the challenge to the idea that made our nation:

  • the idea of equality for all men; life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

  • The idea that made us the people we are.

  • Let’s take a look at ourselves before we went into this war.

  • Narrator 2: Well, first of all were a working people. On the land, at the work bench, at a desk.

  • And were an inventive people. The lightning rod, cotton gin, the telegraph,

  • the blessed anesthesia of ether, the rotary printing press, the telephone,

  • electric welding, the incandescent lamp, submarine, steam turbine,

  • the motor-driven airplane, the x-ray tube, the gyroscope compass, the sewing machine, television:

  • all these and countless more bear witness to our inventiveness.

  • Cat: Meow.

  • Narrator 2: And this inventiveness and enterprise, plus our hard-won democratic ideal of the greatest good for the greatest number,

  • created for the average man the highest standard of living in the world.

  • Thirty-two and a half million registered automobiles, two-thirds of all the automobiles there are in the entire world.

  • We demand the highest standards in sanitation, purity of food, medical care.

  • Our hospitals are models for the world to copy.

  • We want the best for the average man, woman, or childparticularly child.

  • We have reduced the hazard of being born.

  • From then on we protect, foster, and generally spoil the majority of our children.

  • But it doesn’t seem to hurt them much.

  • They go to school, all kinds of schools:

  • to kindergartens, public schools, private schools, trade schools, high schools (to 25,000 high schools), and to college.

  • In the last war 20 percent of all the men in the armed forces had been to high school or college; in this war, 63 percent.

  • Were a great two weeks vacation people.

  • We hunt, and we fish.

  • Up north, down south, back east, out westwhen the season opens we hunt and fish.

  • Were a sports-loving people.

  • [Cheering and crowd noises]

  • [Music]

  • And were probably the travelingest nation in all history. We love to go places.

  • We have the cars, we have the roads, we have the scenery.

  • We don’t need passports, but sometimes we need alibis.

  • We sleep by the road; we eat by the road.

  • The foreigner is enchanted and amazed by what we like to put on our stomachs.

  • [Music]

  • And were a great joining people. We join clubs, fraternities, unions, federations.

  • Shove a blank at us, well sign up.

  • Radioswe have one in the living room,

  • the dining room,

  • the bedroom,

  • the bathroom,

  • in our cars,

  • in our hands, and up our sleeves.

  • Radio Announcer: Does your cigarette taste different lately?

  • Narrator 2: Musicwe couldn’t be without it.

  • [Music]

  • The press? Yes it’s the biggest, but most important it’s the freest on Earth:

  • over 12,000 newspapers of all shades of opinion;

  • books on every conceivable subject;

  • and more than 6,000 different magazines, not counting the comics.

  • Churches? We have every denomination on Earth.

  • Sixty million of us regularly attend and no one dares tell us which one to go to.

  • We elect our own neighbors to govern us.

  • We believe in individual enterprise and opportunity for men and women alike.

  • We make mistakes. We see the results.

  • We correct the mistakes.

  • We skyrocket into false prosperities, and then plummet down into false needless depressions.

  • But in spite of everything, we never lose our faith in the future.

  • We believe in the future. We build for the future.

  • Narrator: Yes, we build for the future and the future always catches up with us.

  • Before were done building, weve developed something new and have to start rebuilding.

  • That’s roughly the kind of people we are: boastful, easy-going, sentimental.

  • But underneath, passionately dedicated to the ideal our forefathers passed on to us: the liberty and dignity of man.

  • Weve made great material progress, but spiritually were still in the frontier days.

  • Yet deep down within us there’s a great yearning for peace and goodwill toward men.

  • Somehow we feel that if men turn their minds toward the fields of peace as they have toward the fields of transportation, communication, or aviation,

  • wars would soon be as old-fashioned as the horse and buggy days.

  • We hate war. We know that in war it’s the common man who does the paying, the suffering, the dying.

  • We bend over backwards to avoid it.

  • But let our freedoms be endangered, and well pay and suffer and fight to the last man.

  • That is the America, that is the way of living, for which we fight today.

  • Why? Is that fight necessary? Did we want war?

  • In 1917, before most of you fighting men were born,

  • our fathers fought the First World War to make the world safe for democracy, for the common man.

  • They fought a good fight and won it.

  • There was to be no more war in their time or their children’s time.

  • Faithful to our treaty obligations we destroyed much of our naval tonnage.

  • Our army went on a reducing guide until it became little more than a skeleton.

  • For us, war was to be outlawed. For us, Europe was far away.

  • And as for Asia, well that was really out of this world, where everything looked like it was torn from the National Geographic.

  • Yet in this remote spot in Asia in 1931, while most of you were playing ball in the sandlots, this war started.

  • Without warning Japan invaded Manchuria.

  • Once again, men who were peaceful became the slaves of men who were violent.

  • In Washington, D.C. our Secretary of State made a most vigorous protest:

  • The American government does not intend to recognize any situation, treaty, or agreement which may be brought about by means of aggression.”

  • But we the people hadn’t much time to think about Manchuria.

  • We were wrestling with the worst depression in our history.

  • Some of us were out of jobs, some of us stood in bread lines,

  • some of us suffered homemade aggression,

  • some of us were choked with dust, some of us had no place to go.

  • Two years later in 1933, while most of you were graduating from high school,

  • we read that a funny little man called Hitler had come into power in Germany.

  • We heard that a thing called the Nazi Party had taken over.

  • Today we rule Germany, tomorrow the world.”

  • What kind of talk was that? It must be only hot air.

  • In 1935, about the time you had your first date, we read that strutting Mussolini had attacked far-off Ethiopia.

  • A disease seemed to be spreading, so Congress assembled to insulate us against the growing friction of war.

  • We want no war, well have no war, saving defense of our own people or our own honor.

  • Narrator: Toward this end our chosen representatives passed the Neutrality Act.

  • No nation at war could buy manufactured arms or munitions from the United States.

  • In 1936, when you were running around in jalopies, we were disturbed by news from Spain.

  • In our newsreels we saw German and Italian air forces and armies fighting in Spain and wondered what they were doing there.

  • For the first time we saw great cities squashed flat, civilians bombed and killed.

  • In November 1936 the American Institute of Public Opinion, known as the Gallup Poll,

  • asked a representative cross-section of American peopleIf another war develops in Europe should America take part again?”

  • No, 95 percent.

  • We the people had spoken.

  • Nineteen out of 20 of us saidinclude us out.”

  • To further insulate ourselves we added a cash and carry amendment to the Neutrality Act.

  • Not only wouldn’t we sell munitions, but we wouldn’t sell anything at all,

  • not even a spool of thread, unless warring powers sent their own ships and paid cash on the line.

  • In 1937, the press services received a flash from Asia.

  • Yes, the Japs were turning Asia into a slaughterhouse, but for us Asia was still far away.

  • In September 1937, the Gallup Poll asked usIn the present fight between Japan and China are your sympathies with either side?”

  • We answered: with China, 43 percent;

  • with Japan, 2 percent;

  • undecided, 55 percent.

  • We hadn’t made up our minds about China.

  • Our Neutrality Act barred sales of armaments only to nations at war.

  • The Japanese had not declared war, so we went right on selling scrap iron and aviation gasoline to Japan.

  • In March 1938, Hitler had not declared war either,

  • but his goose-stepping army suddenly smashed in and occupied all the soil of Austria.

  • Six months later, Hitler and his stooge met the anxious democracies at Munich.

  • Hitler promised peace in our time if Britain and France would give him that part of Czechoslovakia known as the Sudetenland.

  • Britain and France gave him that part of Czechoslovakia hoping to avert war.

  • Now we had his word, peace in our time.

  • At home we began to hear strange headlines.

  • Newspaper Man: Extra! Extra! FBI captures German agent.

  • Read all about it! Nazi spy gang captured.

  • Narrator: We sat in our theaters unbelieving as motion pictures exposed Nazi espionage in America.

  • Nazi Speaker: As Germans we know that if America is to be free,

  • we must destroy the chain that ties the whole misery of American politics together,

  • and that chain is