Our National Anniversary
( Originally Published 1927 )
BY A. H. RICE
WE celebrate today no idle tradition—the deeds of no fabulous race; for we tread in the scarcely obliterated footsteps of an earnest and valiant generation of men, who dared to stake life, and fortune, and sacred honor, upon a declaration of rights, whose promulgation shook tyrants on their thrones, gave hope to fainting freedom, and reformed the political ethics of the world.
The greatest heroes of former days have sought renown in schemes of conquest, based on the love of dominion or the thirst for war; and such had been the worship of power in the minds of men, that adulation had ever followed in the wake of victory. How daring then the trial of an issue between a handful of oppressed and outlawed colonists, basing their cause, under God, upon an appeal to the justice of mankind and their own few valiant arms. And how immeasurably great was he, the fearless commander, who, after the fortunes and triumph of battle were over, scorned the thought of a regal throne in the hearts of his countrymen. Amidst the rejoicings of this day, let us mingle something of gratitude with our joy — something of reverence with our gratitude — and something of duty with our reverence.
Let us cultivate personal independence in the spirit of loyalty to the State, and may God grant that we may always be able to maintain the sovereignty of the State in the spirit of integrity to the Union.
Whatever shall be the fate of other governments, ours thus sustained, shall stand forever. As has been elsewhere said, nation after nation may rise and fall, kingdoms and empires crumble into ruin, but our own native land, gathering energy and strength from the lapse of time, shall go on and still go on its des-tined way to greatness and renown. And when thrones shall crumble into dust, when scepters and diadems shall have been forgotten, till heaven's last thunder shall shake the world below, the flag of the Republic shall still wave on, and its Stars, its Stripes, and its Eagle, shall still float in pride, and strength, and glory,
"Whilst the earth bears a plant,