Upon the standard to which the wise and honest will now repair it is written: You have lived the easy way; henceforth, you will live the hard way. You came into a great heritage made by the insight and the sweat and the blood of inspired and devoted and courageous men; thoughtlessly and in utmost self-indulgence you have all but squandered this inheritance. Now only by the heroic virtues which made this inheritance can you restore it again. You took the good things for granted. Now you must earn them again. For every right that you cherish, you have a duty which you must fulfill. For every hope that you entertain, you have a task that you must perform. For every good that you wish to preserve, you will have to sacrifice your comfort and your ease. There is nothing for nothing any longer.
For in the absence of debate unrestricted utterance leads to the degradation of opinion. By a kind of Greshams law the more rational is overcome by the less rational, and the opinions that will prevail will be those which are held most ardently by those with the most passionate will. For that reason the freedom to speak can never be maintained merely by objecting to interference with the liberty of the press, of printing, of broadcasting, of the screen. It can be maintained only by promoting debate.
Yet this corporate being, though so insubstantial to our senses, binds, in Burkes words, a man to his country with ties which though light as air, are as strong as links of iron. That is why young men die in battle for their countrys sake and why old men plant trees they will never sit under.
We have come back here, along with those we love, to see one another again. And by being together we shall remember that we are part of a great company, we shall remember that we are not mere individuals isolated in a tempest, but that we are members of a community--that what we have to do, we shall do together, with friends beside us.