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Understanding of the Times
Saturday, 21 August 2004
Prayer for the Nation
Now Playing: National Day of Prayer (May 1, 2003)
Topic: Speeches
THE PRESIDENT: Thanks for coming, thanks for the warm welcome. I'm glad you're here at the people's house. Laura and I welcome you, we're really pleased to have you here. I want to thank each of you for participating in the National Day of Prayer. It's a good time to be praying -- every day is a good day to pray. (Laughter.)

Today we recognize the many ways our country has been blessed, and we acknowledge the source of those blessings. Millions of Americans seek guidance every day in prayer to the Almighty God. I am one of them. I also know that many Americans remember Laura and me in their prayers, and we are so very, very grateful.

I want to thank General Hicks, Chaplain of the entire U.S. Army, for being here today, and thank you for your service. Shirley, thank you, as well, for once again being the Chairwoman of the National Day of Prayer. I see your brought your husband along, too. (Laughter.)

Luis, muchas gracias, thank you for your beautiful prayer. Father Joe Wallroth is going to be with us in a second; I'm honored you are here, Father.

I really want to thank the Washington National Cathedral Choir of men and girls, it is a fabulous way to begin a morning, to walk down the corridor here and hear your beautiful voices echo throughout this magnificent house. We're really glad you're here, and thank you for -- thank you for sharing your talents.

Julie, thank you, as well, for coming. Gosh, I could have sat here and listened all day to your singing. (Laughter.)

We've got a lot of military chaplains who are here. I want to thank you for your service to your country and to those who wear the uniform. You make a tremendous difference in the lives, the daily lives of people who are frightened and lonely and worried and strong and courageous. I appreciate so very much what you have done and will continue to do.

So many great events in our nation's history were shaped by men and women who found strength and direction in prayer. The first President to live in this house composed a prayer on his second evening here for all who would follow him. Our 16th President, Abraham Lincoln, knew that his burdens were too great for any man, so he carried them to God in prayer. Over the radio on D-Day in 1944, Franklin Roosevelt prayed for God's blessing on our mission to "set free a suffering humanity."

This past month has been another time of testing for America and another time of intense prayer. Americans have been praying for the safety of our troops and for the protection of innocent life in Iraq. Americans prayed that war would not be necessary, and now pray that peace will be just and lasting.

We continue to pray for the recovery of the wounded and for the comfort of all who have lost a loved one. The Scriptures say: the Lord is near to all who call on him. Calling on God in prayer brings us nearer to each other. After his son was rescued from northern Iraq, the father of Sergeant James Riley of New Jersey said, "We have been flooded with people's prayers. Everyone is praying for us and we are so grateful."

During Operation Iraqi Freedom, many Americans have registered online to adopt a serviceman or woman in prayer. Others wear prayer bracelets to remind themselves to intercede on behalf of our troops. In Fountain City, Wisconsin, Lynn Cox has collected at least 80 bibles to send to those serving in Iraq. In Green, Ohio, a group of parishioners at Queen of Heaven Catholic Church has made 2,000 rosaries for our troops. Margaret Brown, who helped start the group, said, "We want them to know that someone back here is holding them up in prayer, and that God is so powerful He can supply all their needs."

To pray for someone else is an act of generosity. We set our own cares aside and look to strengthen another. Prayer teaches humility. We find that the plan of the Creator is sometimes very different from our own. Yet, we learn to depend on His loving will, bowing to purposes we don't always understand. Prayer can lead to a grateful heart, turning our minds to all the gifts of life and to the great works of God.

Prayer can also contribute to the life of our nation. America is a strong nation, in part because we know the limits of human strength. All strength must be guided by wisdom and justice and humility. We pray that God will grant us that wisdom, that sense of justice and that humility in our current challenges, and in the years ahead.

I thank you all for helping to keep prayer an integral part of our national life. May God bless each one of you, and may God continue to bless the United States of America. (Applause.)

A National Prayer Day 2003 Proclamation By the President of the United States of America

We are a Nation whose people turn to prayer in times of our most heartfelt sorrow and our moments of greatest joy. On this National Day of Prayer, first called for more than 225 years ago by the Continental Congress, we come together to thank God for our Nation's many blessings, to acknowledge our need for His wisdom and grace, and to ask Him to continue to watch over our country in the days ahead.

America welcomes individuals of all backgrounds and religions, and our citizens hold diverse beliefs. In prayer, we share the universal desire to speak and listen to our Maker and to seek the plans He has for our lives. We recognize the ways that He has blessed our land abundantly, and we offer thanks for these gifts and for the generosity of our Nation in helping those in need. We are grateful for our freedom, for God's love, mercy, and forgiveness, and for a hope that will never be shaken.

Today, our Nation is strong and prosperous. Our Armed Forces have achieved great success on the battlefield, but challenges still lie ahead. Prayer will not make our path easy, yet prayer can give us strength and hope for the journey.

As we continue to fight against terror, we ask the Almighty to protect all those who battle for freedom throughout the world and our brave men and women in uniform, and we ask Him to shield innocents from harm. We recognize the sacrifice of our military families and ask God to grant them peace and strength. We will not forget the men and women who have fallen in service to America and to the cause of freedom. We pray that their loved ones will receive God's comfort and grace.

In this hour of history's calling, Americans are bowing humbly in churches, synagogues, temples, mosques, and in their own homes, in the presence of the Almighty. This day, I ask our Nation to join me in praying for the strength to meet the challenges before us, for the wisdom to know and do what is right, for continued determination to work towards making our society a more compassionate and decent place, and for peace in the affairs of men.

The Congress, by Public Law 100-307, as amended, has called on our citizens to reaffirm the role of prayer in our society and to honor the religious diversity our freedom permits by recognizing annually a "National Day of Prayer."

NOW, THEREFORE, I, GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim May 1, 2003, as a National Day of Prayer. I ask the citizens of our Nation to pray, each after his or her own faith, in thanksgiving for the freedoms and blessings we have received and for God's continued guidance and protection. I also urge all Americans to join in observing this day with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this thirtieth day of April, in the year of our Lord two thousand three, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and twenty-seventh.

Posted by dondegr8 at 6:24 PM EDT
Friday, 6 August 2004
Space Shuttle Columbia
Now Playing: Remember February 1, 2003 ?
Topic: Speeches
President Bush Speech on Space Shuttle Columbia Tragedy

February 1, 2003

THE PRESIDENT: My fellow Americans, this day has brought terrible news and great sadness to our country. At 9:00 a.m. this morning, Mission Control in Houston lost contact with our Space Shuttle Columbia. A short time later, debris was seen falling from the skies above Texas. The Columbia is lost; there are no survivors.

On board was a crew of seven: Colonel Rick Husband; Lt. Colonel Michael Anderson; Commander Laurel Clark; Captain David Brown; Commander William McCool; Dr. Kalpana Chawla; and Ilan Ramon, a Colonel in the Israeli Air Force. These men and women assumed great risk in the service to all humanity.

In an age when space flight has come to seem almost routine, it is easy to overlook the dangers of travel by rocket, and the difficulties of navigating the fierce outer atmosphere of the Earth. These astronauts knew the dangers, and they faced them willingly, knowing they had a high and noble purpose in life. Because of their courage and daring and idealism, we will miss them all the more.

All Americans today are thinking, as well, of the families of these men and women who have been given this sudden shock and grief. You're not alone. Our entire nation grieves with you. And those you loved will always have the respect and gratitude of this country.

The cause in which they died will continue. Mankind is led into the darkness beyond our world by the inspiration of discovery and the longing to understand. Our journey into space will go on.

In the skies today we saw destruction and tragedy. Yet farther than we can see there is comfort and hope. In the words of the prophet Isaiah, "Lift your eyes and look to the heavens. Who created all these? He who brings out the starry hosts one by one and calls them each by name. Because of His great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing."

The same Creator who names the stars also knows the names of the seven souls we mourn today. The crew of the shuttle Columbia did not return safely to Earth; yet we can pray that all are safely home.

May God bless the grieving families, and may God continue to bless America.

Posted by dondegr8 at 11:07 AM EDT
Wednesday, 28 July 2004
Acceptance Speech 2000
Now Playing: Do you remember August 3rd/2000 in Philadelphia ?
Topic: Speeches
George W. Bush's
Acceptance Speech
2000 Republican National Convention
August 3, 2000
Philadelphia, PA

Mr. Chairman, delegates, and my fellow citizens ... I accept your nomination. Thank you for this honor. Together, we will renew America's purpose.

Our founders first defined that purpose here in Philadelphia ... Ben Franklin was here. Thomas Jefferson. And, of course, George Washington -- or, as his friends called him, "George W."

I am proud to have Dick Cheney at my side. He is a man of integrity and sound judgment, who has proven that public service can be noble service. America will be proud to have a leader of such character to succeed Al Gore as Vice President of the United States.

I am grateful for John McCain and the other candidates who sought this nomination. Their convictions strengthen our party.

I am especially grateful tonight to my family.

No matter what else I do in life, asking Laura to marry me was the best decision I ever made.

To our daughters, Barbara and Jenna, we love you, we're proud of you, and as you head off to college this fall ... Don't stay out too late, and e-mail your old dad once in a while, will you?

And mother, everyone loves you and so do I.

Growing up, she gave me love and lots of advice. I gave her white hair. And I want to thank my father -- the most decent man I have ever known. All my life I have been amazed that a gentle soul could be so strong. And Dad, I want you to know how proud I am to be your son.

My father was the last president of a great generation. A generation of Americans who stormed beaches, liberated concentration camps and delivered us from evil.

Some never came home.

Those who did put their medals in drawers, went to work, and built on a heroic scale ... highways and universities, suburbs and factories, great cities and grand alliances -- the strong foundations of an American Century.

Now the question comes to the sons and daughters of this achievement...

What is asked of us?

This is a remarkable moment in the life of our nation. Never has the promise of prosperity been so vivid. But times of plenty, like times of crisis, are tests of American character.

Prosperity can be a tool in our hands -- used to build and better our country. Or it can be a drug in our system -- dulling our sense of urgency, of empathy, of duty.

Our opportunities are too great, our lives too short, to waste this moment.

So tonight we vow to our nation ...

We will seize this moment of American promise.

We will use these good times for great goals.

We will confront the hard issues -- threats to our national security, threats to our health and retirement security -- before the challenges of our time become crises for our children.

And we will extend the promise of prosperity to every forgotten corner of this country.

To every man and woman, a chance to succeed. To every child, a chance to learn. To every family, a chance to live with dignity and hope.

For eight years, the Clinton/Gore administration has coasted through prosperity.

And the path of least resistance is always downhill.

But America's way is the rising road.

This nation is daring and decent and ready for change.

Our current president embodied the potential of a generation. So many talents. So much charm. Such great skill. But, in the end, to what end? So much promise, to no great purpose.

Little more than a decade ago, the Cold War thawed and, with the leadership of Presidents Reagan and Bush, that wall came down.

But instead of seizing this moment, the Clinton/Gore administration has squandered it. We have seen a steady erosion of American power and an unsteady exercise of American influence.

Our military is low on parts, pay and morale.

If called on by the commander-in-chief today, two entire divisions of the Army would have to report ... Not ready for duty, sir.

This administration had its moment.

They had their chance. They have not led. We will.

This generation was given the gift of the best education in American history. Yet we do not share that gift with everyone. Seven of ten fourth-graders in our highest poverty schools cannot read a simple children's book.

And still this administration continues on the same old path with the same old programs -- while millions are trapped in schools where violence is common and learning is rare.

This administration had its chance. They have not led. We will.

America has a strong economy and a surplus. We have the public resources and the public will -- even the bipartisan opportunities -- to strengthen Social Security and repair Medicare.

But this administration -- during eight years of increasing need -- did nothing.

They had their moment. They have not led. We will.

Our generation has a chance to reclaim some essential values -- to show we have grown up before we grow old.

But when the moment for leadership came, this administration did not teach our children, it disillusioned them. They had their chance. They have not led. We will.

And now they come asking for another chance, another shot.

Our answer?

Not this time.

Not this year.

This is not a time for third chances, it is a time for new beginnings. The rising generations of this country have our own appointment with greatness.

It does not rise or fall with the stock market. It cannot be bought with our wealth.

Greatness is found when American character and American courage overcome American challenges.

When Lewis Morris of New York was about to sign the Declaration of Independence, his brother advised against it, warning he would lose all his property.

Morris, a plain-spoken Founder, responded ... "Damn the consequences, give me the pen." That is the eloquence of American action.

We heard it during World War II, when General Eisenhower told paratroopers on D-Day morning not to worry -- and one replied, "We're not worried, General ... It's Hitler's turn to worry now."

We heard it in the civil rights movement, when brave men and women did not say ... "We shall cope," or "We shall see." They said ... "We shall overcome."

An American president must call upon that character.

Tonight, in this hall, we resolve to be, not the party of repose, but the party of reform.

We will write, not footnotes, but chapters in the American story.

We will add the work of our hands to the inheritance of our fathers and mothers -- and leave this nation greater than we found it.

We know the tests of leadership. The issues are joined.

We will strengthen Social Security and Medicare for the greatest generation, and for generations to come.

Medicare does more than meet the needs of our elderly, it reflects the values of our society.

We will set it on firm financial ground, and make prescription drugs available and affordable for every senior who needs them.

Social Security has been called the "third rail of American politics" -- the one you're not supposed to touch because it shocks you.

But, if you don't touch it, you can't fix it. And I intend to fix it.

To seniors in this country ... You earned your benefits, you made your plans, and President George W. Bush will keep the promise of Social Security ... no changes, no reductions, no way.

Our opponents will say otherwise. This is their last, parting ploy, and don't believe a word of it.

Now is the time for Republicans and Democrats to end the politics of fear and save Social Security, together.

For younger workers, we will give you the option -- your choice -- to put a part of your payroll taxes into sound, responsible investments.

This will mean a higher return on your money, and, over 30 or 40 years, a nest egg to help your retirement, or pass along to your children.

When this money is in your name, in your account, it's not just a program, it's your property.

Now is the time to give American workers security and independence that no politician can ever take away.

On education ... Too many American children are segregated into schools without standards, shuffled from grade-to-grade because of their age, regardless of their knowledge.

This is discrimination, pure and simple -- the soft bigotry of low expectations.

And our nation should treat it like other forms of discrimination ... We should end it.

One size does not fit all when it comes to educating our children, so local people should control local schools.

And those who spend your tax dollars must be held accountable.

When a school district receives federal funds to teach poor children, we expect them to learn. And if they don't, parents should get the money to make a different choice.

Now is the time to make Head Start an early learning program, teach all our children to read, and renew the promise of America's public schools. Another test of leadership is tax relief.

The last time taxes were this high as a percentage of our economy, there was a good reason ... We were fighting World War II.

Today, our high taxes fund a surplus. Some say that growing federal surplus means Washington has more money to spend.

But they've got it backwards.

The surplus is not the government's money. The surplus is the people's money.

I will use this moment of opportunity to bring common sense and fairness to the tax code.

And I will act on principle.

On principle ... every family, every farmer and small businessperson, should be free to pass on their life's work to those they love.

So we will abolish the death tax.

On principle ... no one in America should have to pay more than a third of their income to the federal government.

So we will reduce tax rates for everyone, in every bracket.

On principle ... those in the greatest need should receive the greatest help.

So we will lower the bottom rate from 15 percent to 10 percent and double the child tax credit.

Now is the time to reform the tax code and share some of the surplus with the people who pay the bills.

The world needs America's strength and leadership, and America's armed forces need better equipment, better training, and better pay.

We will give our military the means to keep the peace, and we will give it one thing more ... a commander-in-chief who respects our men and women in uniform, and a commander-in-chief who earns their respect.

A generation shaped by Vietnam must remember the lessons of Vietnam.

When America uses force in the world, the cause must be just, the goal must be clear, and the victory must be overwhelming.

I will work to reduce nuclear weapons and nuclear tension in the world -- to turn these years of influence into decades of peace.

And, at the earliest possible date, my administration will deploy missile defenses to guard against attack and blackmail.

Now is the time, not to defend outdated treaties, but to defend the American people.

A time of prosperity is a test of vision. And our nation today needs vision. That is a fact ... or as my opponent might call it, a "risky truth scheme." Every one of the proposals I've talked about tonight, he has called a "risky scheme," over and over again.

It is the sum of his message -- the politics of the roadblock, the philosophy of the stop sign.

If my opponent had been there at the moon launch, it would have been a "risky rocket scheme."

If he'd been there when Edison was testing the light bulb, it would have been a "risky anti-candle scheme."

And if he'd been there when the Internet was invented well ... I understand he actually was there for that.

He now leads the party of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. But the only thing he has to offer is fear itself.

That outlook is typical of many in Washington -- always seeing the tunnel at the end of the light.

But I come from a different place, and it has made me a different leader. In Midland, Texas, where I grew up, the town motto was "the sky is the limit" ... and we believed it.

There was a restless energy, a basic conviction that, with hard work, anybody could succeed, and everybody deserved a chance.

Our sense of community was just as strong as that sense of promise.

Neighbors helped each other. There were dry wells and sandstorms to keep you humble, and lifelong friends to take your side, and churches to remind us that every soul is equal in value and equal in need.

This background leaves more than an accent, it leaves an outlook.

Optimistic. Impatient with pretense. Confident that people can chart their own course.

That background may lack the polish of Washington. Then again, I don't have a lot of things that come with Washington.

I don't have enemies to fight. And I have no stake in the bitter arguments of the last few years. I want to change the tone of Washington to one of civility and respect.

The largest lesson I learned in Midland still guides me as governor ... Everyone, from immigrant to entrepreneur, has an equal claim on this country's promise.

So we improved our schools, dramatically, for children of every accent, of every background.

We moved people from welfare to work.

We strengthened our juvenile justice laws.

Our budgets have been balanced, with surpluses, and we cut taxes not only once, but twice.

We accomplished a lot.

I don't deserve all the credit, and don't attempt to take it. I worked with Republicans and Democrats to get things done.

A bittersweet part of tonight is that someone is missing, the late Lt. Governor of Texas Bob Bullock.

Bob was a Democrat, a crusty veteran of Texas politics, and my great friend.

He worked by my side, endorsed my re-election, and I know he is with me in spirit in saying to those who would malign our state for political gain ... Don't mess with Texas.

As governor, I've made difficult decisions, and stood by them under pressure. I've been where the buck stops -- in business and in government. I've been a chief executive who sets an agenda, sets big goals, and rallies people to believe and achieve them.

I am proud of this record, and I'm prepared for the work ahead.

If you give me your trust, I will honor it ... Grant me a mandate, and I will use it ... Give me the opportunity to lead this nation, and I will lead ...

And we need a leader to seize the opportunities of this new century -- the new cures of medicine, the amazing technologies that will drive our economy and keep the peace.

But our new economy must never forget the old, unfinished struggle for human dignity.

And here we face a challenge to the very heart and founding premise of our nation.

A couple of years ago, I visited a juvenile jail in Marlin, Texas, and talked with a group of young inmates. They were angry, wary kids. All had committed grownup crimes.

Yet when I looked in their eyes, I realized some of them were still little boys.

Toward the end of conversation, one young man, about 15, raised his hand and asked a haunting question... "What do you think of me?"

He seemed to be asking, like many Americans who struggle ... "Is there hope for me? Do I have a chance?" And, frankly ... "Do you, a white man in a suit, really care what happens to me?"

A small voice, but it speaks for so many. Single moms struggling to feed the kids and pay the rent. Immigrants starting a hard life in a new world. Children without fathers in neighborhoods where gangs seem like friendship, where drugs promise peace, and where sex, sadly, seems like the closest thing to belonging. We are their country, too.

And each of us must share in its promise, or that promise is diminished for all.

If that boy in Marlin believes he is trapped and worthless and hopeless -- if he believes his life has no value, then other lives have no value to him -- and we are ALL diminished.

When these problems aren't confronted, it builds a wall within our nation. On one side are wealth and technology, education and ambition.

On the other side of the wall are poverty and prison, addiction and despair.

And, my fellow Americans, we must tear down that wall.

Big government is not the answer. But the alternative to bureaucracy is not indifference.

It is to put conservative values and conservative ideas into the thick of the fight for justice and opportunity.

This is what I mean by compassionate conservatism. And on this ground we will govern our nation.

We will give low-income Americans tax credits to buy the private health insurance they need and deserve.

We will transform today's housing rental program to help hundreds of thousands of low-income families find stability and dignity in a home of their own.

And, in the next bold step of welfare reform, we will support the heroic work of homeless shelters and hospices, food pantries and crisis pregnancy centers -- people reclaiming their communities block-by-block and heart-by-heart.

I think of Mary Jo Copeland, whose ministry called "Sharing and Caring Hands" serves 1,000 meals a week in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Each day, Mary Jo washes the feet of the homeless, then sends them off with new socks and shoes.

"Look after your feet," she tells them ... "They must carry you a long way in this world, and then all the way to God."

Government cannot do this work. It can feed the body, but it cannot reach the soul. Yet government can take the side of these groups, helping the helper, encouraging the inspired.

My administration will give taxpayers new incentives to donate to charity, encourage after-school programs that build character, and support mentoring groups that shape and save young lives.

We must give our children a spirit of moral courage, because their character is our destiny.

We must tell them, with clarity and confidence, that drugs and alcohol can destroy you, and bigotry disfigures the heart.

Our schools must support the ideals of parents, elevating character and abstinence from afterthoughts to urgent goals.

We must help protect our children, in our schools and streets, by finally and strictly enforcing our nation's gun laws.

Most of all, we must teach our children the values that defeat violence. I will lead our nation toward a culture that values life -- the life of the elderly and the sick, the life of the young, and the life of the unborn. I know good people disagree on this issue, but surely we can agree on ways to value life by promoting adoption and parental notification, and when Congress sends me a bill against partial-birth abortion, I will sign it into law.

Behind every goal I have talked about tonight is a great hope for our country.

A hundred years from now, this must not be remembered as an age rich in possessions and poor in ideals.

Instead, we must usher in an era of responsibility.

My generation tested limits -- and our country, in some ways, is better for it.

Women are now treated more equally. Racial progress has been steady, if still too slow. We are learning to protect the natural world around us. We will continue this progress, and we will not turn back.

At times, we lost our way. But we are coming home.

So many of us held our first child, and saw a better self reflected in her eyes.

And in that family love, many have found the sign and symbol of an even greater love, and have been touched by faith.

We have discovered that who we are is more important than what we have. And we know we must renew our values to restore our country.

This is the vision of America's founders.

They never saw our nation's greatness in rising wealth or advancing armies, but in small, unnumbered acts of caring and courage and self-denial.

Their highest hope, as Robert Frost described it, was "to occupy the land with character."

And that, 13 generations later, is still our goal ... to occupy the land with character.

In a responsibility era, each of us has important tasks -- work that only we can do.

Each of us is responsible ... to love and guide our children, and help a neighbor in need.

Synagogues, churches and mosques are responsible ... not only to worship but to serve.

Corporations are responsible ... to treat their workers fairly, and leave the air and waters clean.

Our nation's leaders are responsible ... to confront problems, not pass them on to others.

And to lead this nation to a responsibility era, a president himself must be responsible.

And so, when I put my hand on the Bible, I will swear to not only uphold the laws of our land, I will swear to uphold the honor and dignity of the office to which I have been elected, so help me God.

I believe the presidency -- the final point of decision in the American government -- was made for great purposes.

It is the office of Lincoln's conscience and Teddy Roosevelt's energy and Harry Truman's integrity and Ronald Reagan's optimism.

For me, gaining this office is not the ambition of a lifetime, but it IS the opportunity of a lifetime.

And I will make the most of it. I believe great decisions are made with care, made with conviction, not made with polls.

I do not need to take your pulse before I know my own mind. I do not reinvent myself at every turn. I am not running in borrowed clothes. When I act, you will know my reasons ... When I speak, you will know my heart.

I believe in tolerance, not in spite of my faith, but because of it.

I believe in a God who calls us, not to judge our neighbors, but to love them.

I believe in grace, because I have seen it ... In peace, because I have felt it ... In forgiveness, because I have needed it.

I believe true leadership is a process of addition, not an act of division. I will not attack a part of this country, because I want to lead the whole of it.

And I believe this will be a tough race, down to the wire.

Their war room is up and running ... but we are ready. Their attacks will be relentless ... but they will be answered. We are facing something familiar, but they are facing something new.

We are now the party of ideas and innovation ... The party of idealism and inclusion.

The party of a simple and powerful hope ...

My fellow citizens, we can begin again. After all of the shouting, and all of the scandal. After all of the bitterness and broken faith. We can begin again.

The wait has been long, but it won't be long now.

A prosperous nation is ready to renew its purpose and unite behind great goals ... and it won't be long now.

Our nation must renew the hopes of that boy I talked with in jail, and so many like him ... and it won't be long now.

Our country is ready for high standards and new leaders ... and it won't be long now.

An era of tarnished ideals is giving way to a responsibility era ... and it won't be long now.

I know how serious the task is before me.

I know the presidency is an office that turns pride into prayer.

But I am eager to start on the work ahead.

And I believe America is ready for a new beginning.

My friend, the artist Tom Lea of El Paso, captured the way I feel about our great land.

He and his wife, he said, "live on the east side of the mountain ... It is the sunrise side, not the sunset side.

It is the side to see the day that is coming ... not the side to see the day that is gone."

Americans live on the sunrise side of mountain.

The night is passing.

And we are ready for the day to come.

Thank you. And God bless you.

Posted by dondegr8 at 10:51 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, 3 September 2004 8:23 AM EDT
Thursday, 22 July 2004
Abraham Lincoln's conversion
Now Playing: Have we found peace with our God ?
Topic: Anecdotes
"For this one who was called the 'most religious of all our presidents', for Abe Lincoln who had tried so valiantly to keep God's law, there was something his closest associates viewed as lacking. His personal bodyguard expressed it well when he said, 'The misery that dripped from Lincoln as he walked was caused by his lack of personal faith.'

For all of his knowledge of Scripture and his association with the great ministers of his day, he failed, for the better part of his life, to comprehend that the salvation of the Lord is 'not by works of righteousness which we have done', and that it is 'by grace ye are saved through faith, and that not of yourselves', effort and piousness notwithstanding.

"It appears that the grace of God was to be understood by Lincoln and a personal relationship with the Savior established only after yet another tragedy would compound his public sorrow. Tragedy was to make its presence known in the White House with the sudden death of little Willie, the Lincoln's youngest child and the apple of the president's eye. In the hour of his inconsolable grief, Willie's nurse shared with the president her very personal relationship with Jesus Christ and encouraged him to know the Savior. Lincoln, by his own testimony, did not immediately respond, but some time later he related to a friend his new found peace.

He said, 'When I left Springfield, I asked the people to pray for me; I was not a Christian. When I buried my son--the severest trial of my life--I was not a Christian. But when I went to Gettysburg, and saw the graves of thousands of our soldiers, I then and there consecrated myself to Christ.' With deep emotion he told his friends that he had at last found the peace for which he longed."

Posted by dondegr8 at 11:53 AM EDT
Tuesday, 20 July 2004
America the Beautiful (poem)
Now Playing: Is God being given His proper place ?
Topic: Poetry
AMERICA THE BEAUTIFUL

America the Beautiful
Or so you used to be.
Land of the Pilgrims' pride;
I'm glad they'll never see.

Babies piled in dumpsters,
Abortion on demand.
Oh, sweet land of liberty,
Your house is on the sand.

Our children wander aimlessly
Poisoned by cocaine,
Choosing to indulge their lusts,
When God has said abstain.

From sea to shining sea,
Our Nation turns away
From the teaching of God's love
And a need to always pray.

We've kept God in our temples,
How callous we have grown.
When earth is but His footstool,
And Heaven is His throne.

We've voted in a government
That's rotting at the core,
Appointing Godless Judges
Who throw reason out the door.

Too soft to place a killer
In a well deserved tomb,
But brave enough to kill a baby
Before he leaves the womb.

You think that God's not angry,
That our land's a moral slum?
How much longer will He wait
Before His judgment comes?

How are we to face our God,
From Whom we cannot hide?
What then is left for us to do
But stem this evil tide?

If we who are His children
Will humbly turn and pray;
Seek His holy face
And mend our evil way:

Then God will hear from Heaven
And forgive us of our sins,
He'll heal our sickly land
And those who live within.

But, America the Beautiful,
If you don't - then you will see,
A sad but Holy God
Withdraw His hand from Thee.

~ Judge Roy Moore ~

Posted by dondegr8 at 12:11 PM EDT
Friday, 16 July 2004
National Day of Prayer
Now Playing: Remember how you felt on September 14, 2001 ?
Topic: Speeches
We are here in the middle hour of our grief. So many have suffered so great a loss, and today we express our nation's sorrow. We come before God to pray for the missing and the dead, and for those who love them.

On Tuesday, our country was attacked with deliberate and massive cruelty. We have seen the images of fire and ashes, and bent steel.

Now come the names, the list of casualties we are only beginning to read. They are the names of men and women who began their day at a desk or in an airport, busy with life. They are the names of people who faced death, and in their last moments called home to say, be brave, and I love you.

They are the names of passengers who defied their murderers, and prevented the murder of others on the ground. They are the names of men and women who wore the uniform of the United States, and died at their posts.

They are the names of rescuers, the ones whom death found running up the stairs and into the fires to help others. We will read all these names. We will linger over them, and learn their stories, and many Americans will weep.

To the children and parents and spouses and families and friends of the lost, we offer the deepest sympathy of the nation. And I assure you, you are not alone.

Just three days removed from these events, Americans do not yet have the distance of history. But our responsibility to history is already clear: to answer these attacks and rid the world of evil.

War has been waged against us by stealth and deceit and murder. This nation is peaceful, but fierce when stirred to anger. This conflict was begun on the timing and terms of others. It will end in a way, and at an hour, of our choosing.

Our purpose as a nation is firm. Yet our wounds as a people are recent and unhealed, and lead us to pray. In many of our prayers this week, there is a searching, and an honesty. At St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York on Tuesday, a woman said, "I prayed to God to give us a sign that He is still here." Others have prayed for the same, searching hospital to hospital, carrying pictures of those still missing.

God's signs are not always the ones we look for. We learn in tragedy that his purposes are not always our own. Yet the prayers of private suffering, whether in our homes or in this great cathedral, are known and heard, and understood.

There are prayers that help us last through the day, or endure the night. There are prayers of friends and strangers, that give us strength for the journey. And there are prayers that yield our will to a will greater than our own.

This world He created is of moral design. Grief and tragedy and hatred are only for a time. Goodness, remembrance, and love have no end. And the Lord of life holds all who die, and all who mourn.

It is said that adversity introduces us to ourselves. This is true of a nation as well. In this trial, we have been reminded, and the world has seen, that our fellow Americans are generous and kind, resourceful and brave. We see our national character in rescuers working past exhaustion; in long lines of blood donors; in thousands of citizens who have asked to work and serve in any way possible.

And we have seen our national character in eloquent acts of sacrifice. Inside the World Trade Center, one man who could have saved himself stayed until the end at the side of his quadriplegic friend. A beloved priest died giving the last rites to a firefighter. Two office workers, finding a disabled stranger, carried her down sixty-eight floors to safety. A group of men drove through the night from Dallas to Washington to bring skin grafts for burn victims.

In these acts, and in many others, Americans showed a deep commitment to one another, and an abiding love for our country. Today, we feel what Franklin Roosevelt called the warm courage of national unity. This is a unity of every faith, and every background.

It has joined together political parties in both houses of Congress. It is evident in services of prayer and candlelight vigils, and American flags, which are displayed in pride, and wave in defiance.

Our unity is a kinship of grief, and a steadfast resolve to prevail against our enemies. And this unity against terror is now extending across the world.

America is a nation full of good fortune, with so much to be grateful for. But we are not spared from suffering. In every generation, the world has produced enemies of human freedom. They have attacked America, because we are freedom's home and defender. And the commitment of our fathers is now the calling of our time.

On this national day of prayer and remembrance, we ask almighty God to watch over our nation, and grant us patience and resolve in all that is to come. We pray that He will comfort and console those who now walk in sorrow. We thank Him for each life we now must mourn, and the promise of a life to come.

As we have been assured, neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, can separate us from God's love. May He bless the souls of the departed. May He comfort our own. And may He always guide our country.

God bless America.

Posted by dondegr8 at 2:55 PM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 20 July 2004 12:28 PM EDT
Monday, 12 July 2004
Inaugeration Speech
Now Playing: How W. began his administration (January 20, 2001)
Topic: Speeches
President George W. Bush's Inaugural Address

January 20, 2001

President Clinton, distinguished guests and my fellow citizens, the peaceful transfer of authority is rare in history, yet common in our country. With a simple oath, we affirm old traditions and make new beginnings.

As I begin, I thank President Clinton for his service to our nation.

And I thank Vice President Gore for a contest conducted with spirit and ended with grace.

I am honored and humbled to stand here, where so many of America's leaders have come before me, and so many will follow.

We have a place, all of us, in a long story--a story we continue, but whose end we will not see. It is the story of a new world that became a friend and liberator of the old, a story of a slave-holding society that became a servant of freedom, the story of a power that went into the world to protect but not possess, to defend but not to conquer.

It is the American story--a story of flawed and fallible people, united across the generations by grand and enduring ideals.

The grandest of these ideals is an unfolding American promise that everyone belongs, that everyone deserves a chance, that no insignificant person was ever born.

Americans are called to enact this promise in our lives and in our laws. And though our nation has sometimes halted, and sometimes delayed, we must follow no other course.

Through much of the last century, America's faith in freedom and democracy was a rock in a raging sea. Now it is a seed upon the wind, taking root in many nations.

Our democratic faith is more than the creed of our country, it is the inborn hope of our humanity, an ideal we carry but do not own, a trust we bear and pass along. And even after nearly 225 years, we have a long way yet to travel.

While many of our citizens prosper, others doubt the promise, even the justice, of our own country. The ambitions of some Americans are limited by failing schools and hidden prejudice and the circumstances of their birth. And sometimes our differences run so deep, it seems we share a continent, but not a country.

We do not accept this, and we will not allow it. Our unity, our union, is the serious work of leaders and citizens in every generation. And this is my solemn pledge: I will work to build a single nation of justice and opportunity.

I know this is in our reach because we are guided by a power larger than ourselves who creates us equal in His image.

And we are confident in principles that unite and lead us onward.

America has never been united by blood or birth or soil. We are bound by ideals that move us beyond our backgrounds, lift us above our interests and teach us what it means to be citizens. Every child must be taught these principles. Every citizen must uphold them. And every immigrant, by embracing these ideals, makes our country more, not less, American.

Today, we affirm a new commitment to live out our nation's promise through civility, courage, compassion and character.

America, at its best, matches a commitment to principle with a concern for civility. A civil society demands from each of us good will and respect, fair dealing and forgiveness.

Some seem to believe that our politics can afford to be petty because, in a time of peace, the stakes of our debates appear small.

But the stakes for America are never small. If our country does not lead the cause of freedom, it will not be led. If we do not turn the hearts of children toward knowledge and character, we will lose their gifts and undermine their idealism. If we permit our economy to drift and decline, the vulnerable will suffer most.

We must live up to the calling we share. Civility is not a tactic or a sentiment. It is the determined choice of trust over cynicism, of community over chaos. And this commitment, if we keep it, is a way to shared accomplishment.

America, at its best, is also courageous.

Our national courage has been clear in times of depression and war, when defending common dangers defined our common good. Now we must choose if the example of our fathers and mothers will inspire us or condemn us. We must show courage in a time of blessing by confronting problems instead of passing them on to future generations.

Together, we will reclaim America's schools, before ignorance and apathy claim more young lives.

We will reform Social Security and Medicare, sparing our children from struggles we have the power to prevent. And we will reduce taxes, to recover the momentum of our economy and reward the effort and enterprise of working Americans.

We will build our defenses beyond challenge, lest weakness invite challenge.

We will confront weapons of mass destruction, so that a new century is spared new horrors.

The enemies of liberty and our country should make no mistake: America remains engaged in the world by history and by choice, shaping a balance of power that favors freedom. We will defend our allies and our interests. We will show purpose without arrogance. We will meet aggression and bad faith with resolve and strength. And to all nations, we will speak for the values that gave our nation birth.

America, at its best, is compassionate. In the quiet of American conscience, we know that deep, persistent poverty is unworthy of our nation's promise.

And whatever our views of its cause, we can agree that children at risk are not at fault. Abandonment and abuse are not acts of God, they are failures of love.

And the proliferation of prisons, however necessary, is no substitute for hope and order in our souls.

Where there is suffering, there is duty. Americans in need are not strangers, they are citizens, not problems, but priorities. And all of us are diminished when any are hopeless.

Government has great responsibilities for public safety and public health, for civil rights and common schools. Yet compassion is the work of a nation, not just a government.

And some needs and hurts are so deep they will only respond to a mentor's touch or a pastor's prayer. Church and charity, synagogue and mosque lend our communities their humanity, and they will have an honored place in our plans and in our laws.

Many in our country do not know the pain of poverty, but we can listen to those who do.

And I can pledge our nation to a goal: When we see that wounded traveler on the road to Jericho, we will not pass to the other side.

America, at its best, is a place where personal responsibility is valued and expected.

Encouraging responsibility is not a search for scapegoats, it is a call to conscience. And though it requires sacrifice, it brings a deeper fulfillment. We find the fullness of life not only in options, but in commitments. And we find that children and community are the commitments that set us free.

Our public interest depends on private character, on civic duty and family bonds and basic fairness, on uncounted, unhonored acts of decency which give direction to our freedom.

Sometimes in life we are called to do great things. But as a saint of our times has said, every day we are called to do small things with great love. The most important tasks of a democracy are done by everyone.

I will live and lead by these principles: to advance my convictions with civility, to pursue the public interest with courage, to speak for greater justice and compassion, to call for responsibility and try to live it as well.

In all these ways, I will bring the values of our history to the care of our times.

What you do is as important as anything government does. I ask you to seek a common good beyond your comfort; to defend needed reforms against easy attacks; to serve your nation, beginning with your neighbor. I ask you to be citizens: citizens, not spectators; citizens, not subjects; responsible citizens, building communities of service and a nation of character.

Americans are generous and strong and decent, not because we believe in ourselves, but because we hold beliefs beyond ourselves. When this spirit of citizenship is missing, no government program can replace it. When this spirit is present, no wrong can stand against it.

After the Declaration of Independence was signed, Virginia statesman John Page wrote to Thomas Jefferson: ``We know the race is not to the swift nor the battle to the strong. Do you not think an angel rides in the whirlwind and directs this storm?''

Much time has passed since Jefferson arrived for his inauguration. The years and changes accumulate. But the themes of this day he would know: our nation's grand story of courage and its simple dream of dignity.

We are not this story's author, who fills time and eternity with his purpose. Yet his purpose is achieved in our duty, and our duty is fulfilled in service to one another.

Never tiring, never yielding, never finishing, we renew that purpose today, to make our country more just and generous, to affirm the dignity of our lives and every life.

This work continues. This story goes on. And an angel still rides in the whirlwind and directs this storm.

God bless you all, and God bless America.

Posted by dondegr8 at 1:09 PM EDT
Saturday, 10 July 2004
Eulogy for Ronald Reagan
Now Playing: Have we grasped the eternal value of what he had ?
Topic: Testimonies
Michael Reagan's Remarks At His Father's Burial Service

Good evening. I'm Mike Reagan. You knew my father as governor, as president. But I knew him as dad. I want to tell you a little bit about my dad. A little bit about Cameron and Ashley's grandfather because not a whole lot is ever spoken about that side of Ronald Reagan.

Ronald Reagan adopted me into his family 1945. I was a chosen one. I was the lucky one. And all of his years, he never mentioned that I was adopted either behind my back or in front of me. I was his son, Michael Edward Reagan.

When his families grew to be two families, he didn't walk away from the one to go to the other, but he became a father to both -- to Patti and then Ronnie, but always to Maureen, my sister, and me.

We looked forward to those Saturday mornings when he would pick us up, sitting on the curve on Beverly Glen as his car would turn the corner from Sunset Boulevard and we would get in and ride to his ranch and play games and he would always make sure it ended up a tie.

We would swim and we would ride horses or we'd just watch him cut firewood. We would be in awe of our father. As years went by and I became older and found a woman I would marry, Colleen, he sent me a letter about marriage and how important it was to be faithful to the woman you love with a P.S.: You'll never get in trouble if you say I love you at least once a day, and I'm sure he told Nancy every day "I love you" as I tell Colleen.

He also sent letters to his grandchildren. He wasn't able to be the grandfather that many of you are able to be because of the job that he had. And so he would write letters. He sent one letter to Cameron, said: "Cameron, some guy got $10,000 for my signature. Maybe this letter will help you pay for your college education. He signed it, Grandpa. P.S. Your grandpa is the 40th president of the United States, Ronald Reagan. He just signed his sign."

Those are the kinds of things my father did.

At the early onset of Alzheimer's disease, my father and I would tell each other we loved each other and we would give each other a hug. As the years went by and he could no longer verbalize my name, he recognized me as the man who hugged him. So when I would walk into the house, he would be there in his chair opening up his arms for that hug, hello, and the hug goodbye. It was a blessing truly brought on by God.

We had wonderful blessings of that nature. Wonderful, wonderful blessings that my father gave to me each and every day of my life.

I was so proud to have the Reagan name and to be Ronald Reagan's son. What a great honor. He gave me a lot of gifts as a child. Gave me a horse. Gave me a car. Gave me a lot of things. But there's a gift he gave me that I think is wonderful for every father to give every son.

Last Saturday, when my father opened his eyes for the last time, and visualized Nancy and gave her such a wonderful, wonderful gift --

-- When he closed his eyes, that's when I realized the gift that he gave to me, the gift that he was going to be with his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. He had, back in 1988 on a flight from Washington, D.C. to Point Mugu, told me about his love of God, his love of Christ as his Savior. I didn't know then what it all meant. But I certainly, certainly know now.

I can't think of a better gift for a father to give a son. And I hope to honor my father by giving my son Cameron and my daughter Ashley that very same gift he gave to me.

Knowing where he is this very moment, this very day, that he is in Heaven, and I can only promise my father this: "Dad, when I go, I will go to Heaven, too. And you and I and my sister, Maureen, who went before us, we will dance with the heavenly host of angels before the presence of God. We will do it Melanoma and Alzheimer's free."

Thank you for letting me share my father, Ronald Wilson Reagan.

Posted by dondegr8 at 12:30 PM EDT
Gettysburg Address
Now Playing: Why should we remember Nov. 19, 1863 ?
Topic: Historical
Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation or any nation so conceived and so dedicated can long endure.

We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field as a final resting-place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this. But in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow this ground.

The brave men, living and dead who struggled here have consecrated it far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living rather to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced.

It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us --that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion-- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain, that this nation under God shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth.

Posted by dondegr8 at 12:01 PM EDT

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