The Pittsburgh Press (July 3, 1942)
Independence Day means more to us this year. For many years, we took our liberties for granted and approached this anniversary as an unrestful holiday of forced oratory, gas fumes, traffic jams, ants on the picnic butter and noise.
Today, none of us is so insensitive. Most of us will not be troubled by motor hazards, factories will make more noise than fireworks and we shall be more thankful for bread and butter.
We used to say our forefathers guaranteed our freedom for us. Now we know they could not. They won freedom. They passed it on to their children. They could do no more. But that was not enough to preserve a free land from enemies foreign and domestic.
Each generation must win and hold its own freedom. For us, it has been easier because of the vision and courage and sacrifice of our fathers. But perhaps just because it was easier, we were asleep when freedom was threatened, we were soft when the enemy struck.
How much Americans have learned since last Fourth of July! Most of the interventionists and noninterventionists alike then boasted of our strength. If Hitler forced us into the war, we could turn the tide of battle quickly; and as for the puny Japs, we could knock them out in a matter of weeks.
We know better now. We have learned the hard way that eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.
We are stronger now. Not only in weapons and in trained men. We are stronger in things of the spirit – in humility, in consecration, in willingness to work and fight and die that liberty may live. Americans have not yet recaptured the Spirit of ’76, but they are coming closer to that high estate.
Therefore, we have more right to celebrate this Independence Day. Our minds are clearer and our hearts are cleaner. Our marching men are worthy to win again the freedom our fathers won.