The Fourth of July (7-4-45)

Statement by President Truman: The Fourth of July
July 4, 1945


Again this year we celebrate July 4 as the anniversary of the day one hundred and sixty-nine years ago on which we declared our independence as a sovereign people.

In this year of 1945, we have pride in the combined might of this nation which has contributed signally to the defeat of the enemy in Europe. We have confidence that, under Providence, we soon may crush the enemy in the Pacific. We have humility for the guidance that has been given us of God in serving His will as a leader of freedom for the world.

This year, the men and women of our armed forces, and many civilians as well, are celebrating the anniversary of American Independence in other countries throughout the world. Citizens of these other lands will understand what we celebrate and why, for freedom is dear to the hearts of all men everywhere. In other lands, others will join us in honoring our declaration that all men are created equal and are endowed with certain inalienable rights – life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Here at home, on this July 4, 1945, let us honor our nation’s creed of liberty, and the men and women of our armed forces who are carrying this creed with them throughout the world.


The Cincinnati Post (July 4, 1945)

Stokes: 169 years ago, we created a new nation – today a new world

By Thomas L. Stokes, Scripps-Howard staff writer

MACKINAC ISLAND, Michigan – When in the course of human events this day you are picking the ants out of the picnic lunch, or complaining that there’s no meat in the sandwiches, or pulling the bee sting out of Tommy’s foot or yelling to Jimmy not to go out too far, or telling Johnny to quit nagging Mary…

You probably won’t be thinking much of those men back in Philadelphia 169 years ago who, in Congress assembled, declared this a free and independent nation. Unless, that is, you are near a “speaking,” and someone says something about it.

Even then it is hard to put yourselves in their places and really feel what a bold and brave thing it was they did there.

You are more likely to be thinking about the young men of the family who are not here today. You may be thinking hopefully of the young man who may come back, or you may be longing deep down inside for the young man who can never come back. And you may recall when he was chasing around like Tommy and Jimmy and Johnny there.

That is what you are giving to hold what those other men did for us back there in Philadelphia. So, you really do understand, though you may not realize it. You and your sons and brothers and husbands and sweethearts are doing again, and just as boldly and bravely, just what those men back there and their kinsfolk and loved ones were doing. And time collapses across 169 years.

They started it all. They cast aside all the small affairs of their own little individual worlds, and, taking a long look into the future, decided to stand up and declare that men could be free and independent in a new government and society of their own making here in a new country.

It was no easy thing to do.

It was no easy thing either that you have done.

It was no easy thing to decide that it was your business to stand up and declare that tyranny should not exist in the world if you could help to overthrow it, which so many of you did in your hearts even before this nation was attacked. For it seemed so far away and none of our business and we seemed to be safe here behind our oceans. In that decision – and you knew it – you gave up yourselves and your sons and your brothers and your husbands and your sweethearts.

This is a day to celebrate this new declaration of independence on a larger stage, which grew out of that other one 169 years ago.

It is possible to make it the beginning of a whole new world, rather than just a new nation as was done at Philadelphia.

It will not happen tomorrow, or the day after, but it can happen.

What those men of Philadelphia planned did not happen in a few days, either, or a few years, but it has happened.

They struggled along through dark days when it looked as if a ragged army of 13 separate little nations could never throw off the yoke of an empire, even one far across the sea. They struggled along with a loose league of those 13 little nations as the governing authority, with some complaining about petty little things, and some holding back. They had no strong central authority and no way to be sure they’d ever have enough money to provide equipment and food to go on, and for long periods there was no pay for the soldiers.

They learned something from that experience about government. They gathered again, after a few years, and after much discussion to harmonize the differences of 13 little nations, to compromise the fears and rivalries and jealousies, they formed a union. It was a series of compromises, but it has worked through the years. We have changed it here and there, but the essence of the original remains.

Out in San Francisco the representatives of 53 nations got together and organized a league, or confederation. It is like the confederation we formed at the time of the Revolution. It is well for us to remember that. It does not compare with the union we created later with our Constitution. But it is a start, like our own preliminary and primitive Articles of Confederation.

Our own Constitution begins – “We the people of the United States…”

The San Francisco Charter begins – “We the peoples of the United Nations…”

There’s a difference – “people” and “peoples.”

There will certainly come a time and we can think of that this day of our new declaration of independence when we can make a very simple amendment – “We the people of the United Nations…”

Editorial: July 4, 1945

This is the fourth successive July 4 when the guns of patriots have spoken more eloquently than the patriotic orators.

Time was when the Fourth of July signaled hampers of lunch and unhampered rhetoric. A fellow joined his neighbors at the picnic grove to stow away incredible amounts of fried chicken, hard-boiled eggs, sandwiches, pickles, cake, pie and lemonade and then digest them drowsily under the soporific periods of the day’s speaker.

Peace was the essence of this martially-born festival, and we thought of war only when the reverberating orator declaimed on “those brave lads who.” Lazily, if at all, we meditated on those brave lads as if they were creatures of romantic fiction.

Now, for the fourth Independence Day in a row, we snap to reality. We are stabbingly aware that brave lads are fighting and dying. We sense the roar of distant battles and our hearts cry out in yearning for our men and women who are in peril.

If we dare look toward the future on this day, we need no eloquence to express our highest wish. Above all else, we hope that, long before another Fourth of July, victorious peace will have returned.

Happy Independence Day!