How much is all this worth?
We the people. Perhaps we the people should ask ourselves, as Daniel Webster once did: “How much is all this worth?” 1 How much is it worth to live where one wishes? to work at what one wishes? to worship as one wishes? How much is it worth to have the right to live with loved ones? to listen to the laughter of children? to walk home and find loved faces unafraid? How much is it worth to own personal property? to have personal privacy? to preserve human dignity? How much is it worth to have an education offered everyone? How much is it worth to express freely an opinion, to move freely from place to place, with an openness of life, with peace of mind and quiet conviction and enjoyment of the great and good earth that God has given? Despite some encroachments on freedom, and the unwise relinquishment of some rights, still blessed beyond belief, still precious beyond price is the freedom our forebears paid for—the freedom which is God-given, but which yet has to be earned, over and over again. How much is all this worth? It must be worth the willingness to work, to serve, to live with loyalty and allegiance, with respect for self, for others, for life, for law, for loved ones, with cleanliness and honorable conduct. Thank God for liberty and for the Constitution of our country. No nation ever had its equal in making possible the full, free living of life. And we who are living on the short side of life are earnestly anxious that you who have longer yet to live may know, as Andrew Jackson said it, that “no free government can stand without virtue in the people, and a lofty spirit of patriotism.” 2 Oh, “let us turn our thoughts to the character of our country,” 3 so that we the people and our children and their children may thankfully say, “Thank God my life has been spent in a land of liberty.” 2
Daniel Webster (quoted by Joseph Roswell Hawley in an address titled On the Flag and the Eagle, 1874).
Andrew Jackson, Farewell Address.
Charles Sumner, Oration on the True Grandeur of Nations speech delivered in Boston July 4, 1845.
Samuel F. Smith. “My Country, ’Tis of Thee.”