White House statement on Columbus Day (10-12-42)

White House statement on Columbus Day
October 12, 1942

It is 450 years since Christopher Columbus first saw the new Western world off his bow. He and his followers found a great expanse where new beginnings could be made, where men could steer their courses free of the fetters of tyranny and the encompassment of outworn institutions. In the wake of his courageous and unprecedented voyage there came to the Americas the seeking people of many countries – people who sought liberty, democracy, religious tolerance, the fuller life.

This was the American experiment, a bold experiment and successful. Our immigrant ancestors, yours and mine, made it successful.

But now the free nations we created on two continents, the very liberties we made law, are endangered by destructive forces from without. We are in the midst of mankind’s greatest war, a war to determine whether the march of progress shall proceed or be halted by the totality of conquest.

Our cause is not only liberty for ourselves but liberation for others. An American victory will be a United Nations victory and a victory for oppressed and enslaved people everywhere. I like to remember on this significant anniversary the words of a contemporary poet:

Columbus found a world and had no chart, save one that faith deciphered in the skies.

We have faith; deeds will implement it.