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Victory Apostolic Faith Church
Alan Keyes
September 5, 2004
Chicago, Illinois

Praise God. Praise God. Good evening! Sit down, y'all. Have a seat.

I have set before you blessings and curses, life and death. Choose life. Thus saith the Lord. [See Deuteronomy 30:19.]

At one level, it would seem like a fairly easy choice to make, wouldn't it? Being as how He has given us the great gift of life, and there are so many things in it that are to be savored and enjoyed.

The truth of the matter is, though, that especially in light of the heritage of black Americans, I sometimes think the choice hasn't been all that easy. But the choice for life has always been the choice that characterized black America--until today, until now, until our time.

Before I go into, though, the nature of our time, I want to talk a little bit, especially for the benefit of our young folks, about our heritage. Because I think that is a heritage that in many ways in America has been misconstrued and misrepresented and misunderstood, so badly in fact that instead of being what it ought to be for each new generation of black America--an inspiration, an encouragement, a motivation--that heritage has become, for many, a burden, to such a degree that some people would rather we didn't even talk about it anymore, rather we pretended that somehow or another we just started yesterday.

But we didn't start yesterday. And the folks who would want us to forget that heritage would want us to set aside not one, or two, or three, but four hundred and more years in which people of our heritage have been in America, have worked, have toiled, have built, have been the source of much strength and progress in this country, and yet for the better part of that time, not one contribution was acknowledged, not one day of labor was acknowledged, not one achievement was acknowledged at its true worth.

And I had a question when I was younger. I encountered, as young people will, I encountered my heritage after I had come of a certain age. Because naturally, when you are young, and our children don't realize this sometimes, but when we're doing the best we can for them, much of their early life is going to be sheltered from the harder realities that we see. We'll walk out the door and we'll be going through all kinds of mess, and we'll be aware of all kinds of things that come down to us through the years. We'll be carrying it around in our hearts and in our minds, but we will make every effort to make sure that their lives are lives in which they know only love and tenderness and care and guidance and the discipline that comes from loving hearts seeking to help them grow.

I sometimes think that this wonderful love we show for them may be as much of a burden as a gift, because it means that at some point they're going to have to go out and face a world that doesn't love them the way that we do; face a world that doesn't give them that sense of worth in themselves that we give with every glance, that we give with every day we get up before the dawn in order to make sure that in the evening there will be food on the table. It's a hard struggle, and it's a struggle that sometimes we will hide it from them in our hearts. And sometimes we'll have to share it with them, but always we will seek to lighten the load for them and bear it ourselves.

And that would mean that when you come in contact, as I did at about twelve or thirteen, I started reading about the heritage of slavery. And I have gotten questions, especially in recent days because of other things I'm involved with as you all know, I have gotten questions about why it is that in the course of my discussion of things I'll so often recur to the history of slavery--as if anybody in their right mind would question why a black American would have spent a lot of time thinking about slavery.

Well, I'll tell you why I did. Because when I was eleven and twelve and thirteen and sat down to read the accounts in books like Before the Mayflower by Lerone Bennett, and other things of what had happened to my slave ancestors, it broke my heart. It disillusioned my mind, it led to deep questions about my country and even about the Lord my God. The very questions that well up--and yet sometimes when you're that young, you don't understand what you're asking, but you're asking the same questions we all ask at some point: Why Lord, how could such things happen if Your Will is good? If this world has good in it, how could such evil occur? But it did occur, and the fact that it did became for me a great challenge. I had to understand both how such injustice was possible and what one did in order to fight it, overcome it, and prevent it.

And you know what I found? I found that the history of my people in America, this history of black Americans in the country of my birth, was the very lesson I needed to learn. It was a lesson in the harsh truth of injustice because of what my ancestors had suffered, but it was also a lesson in the inextinguishable flame of God's truth that can be there in the heart of every single human being, no matter what their circumstances.

And that's the lesson I took. A few years ago I had the privilege, by God's grace, of being able to spend a few years systematically trying to go through and set down on paper--I did in a book, Masters of the Dream--the thinking I had done over the years about that story of black America's heritage, and to share some of the insights that I had discovered about how it was that our people had survived.

And it's one of those things I think a lot of people these days don't understand. During the argument over slavery and whether it should be abolished, one of the great points that used to be made by the pro-slavery people, when they were trying to appear benign and everything--as if it wasn't all about greed and exploitation of other human beings for profit--well, then they would want to say, well, it was really also best for the slaves, see, because if slaves were freed, then they would suffer terribly and ultimately they would be extinct, because they wouldn't be able to take care of themselves. That was the argument that was made.

And when slavery was ended, as a consequence or in consequence of the civil war, people reliably predicted, for twenty and thirty years--you can go back and find in writings all around the turn of the century saying that by the middle of the twentieth century, the last century--there would be no more black Americans left in North America. They wrote this and said this would happen--confidently.

And the question we should ask ourselves every now and again, in the midst of all the confusion and downheartedness and discouragement that can be blown about in our time, the question we ought to ask ourselves before we get all dwelling on the negative side of our challenge, is why it was that in spite of every deprivation, in spite of a system of slavery that had broken down the family, that had separated husbands and wives and fathers and children, that had kept people from learning even the rudiments of reading and writing and arithmetic, that had passed laws against education, punishing people if they were found educating the slaves--in spite of all these inequalities that were there to keep people down, we need to ask ourselves why it was that, between the end of slavery and the first decade or so of the twentieth century, you found a system where, though slavery had tried to destroy the black family, black folks put it back together for themselves.

Indeed, there are stories that the very first thing that people wanted to do, once they were freed from slavery, was to--by every means they could--find the family they had lost. They looked for the husbands, and they looked for the wives, and they looked for the children that had been taken away, because in spite of everything, their hearts would not forget. And freedom to them meant the freedom to come back together and to be once again a family as God had intended.

And people working at this against the odds in every way, they actually put the system back together. And remarkably, I think it was W.E.B. DuBois who was doing studies in the early part of the century, and finding that when you compared the situation--and I had read other studies about the black family and American history--by the time we reached 1910, 1915, do you realize that you had a point where 75-80% of the children in the black community were being raised, once again, in two parent families? That's right.

And this, by the way, you can still read in the social science journals, where they'll tell you that slavery destroyed the black family. Slavery SOUGHT to destroy the black family, slavery pulled it apart in the physical sense, but they couldn't reach into our hearts, they couldn't break our spirit, and at the end of the day, our ancestors, acting on that heart, and courageous in that spirit, put it back together, in spite of all the odds.

Now see, this is the first lesson I think you have to get really close to your heart, if you're a black American. Because we all live, right now, still in circumstances that are daunting, in a world where everything seems to be all turned in ways that even when it looks like it's for us, we can't trust it's not against us. But nonetheless, in spite of all the uncertainties, all the difficulties, all the challenges that may seem to be in this world today against us, and I say this again especially to our young people:  remember your heritage! When the whole world was against you, when every law and even the Constitution was interpreted against people of color in this country, our ancestors did not give up, they did not give in, and they did survive, in spite of everything!

And what does that mean? It means that in spite of everything, you can more than survive, you can more than overcome, you can prevail.

And we need to start remembering that, as the truth of our heritage. Now, I know it's been popular for a long time, because people have been arguing for the need for this kind of help and that kind of help, and sometimes they get a little distracted with making these arguments, and they want to run down everything about the community. We've got to portray ourselves as poor and desperate and needy as possible so we can get help from this one and that one and the other--not realizing that after a while, you'll start to believe all that stuff, and before you know it, your children will believe it, and seeking to get help, you will destroy that which is more powerful than any external help, and that is the strength of your own spirit, the countenance of your own heart.

We, however, as a people, can look back on a heritage where that strength was never crushed, even though every weight was put on it. And this is a remarkable thing. Because even things like literacy--from the time the civil war ended to the first part of the twentieth century, you had folks who had been kept by law from learning, and yet who were so powerfully attached to the importance of education--that in the course of the next twenty or thirty years, they went from a literacy rate that was probably next to nothing to a literacy rate that was eighty and ninety percent.

Now here was one of the things that struck me as most remarkable, and I know this may come as a little bit of a hard word for our young people, because if they're like me, or at least if they're like my--well not my children, I won't slander my young Maya here, no, my youngest probably has this problem more than my other two. He doesn't really like school. There are folks who don't, you know that. They find it a little bit of a drudge to go, they'd rather be doing other things, but in our loving hearts we send them anyway, thank goodness, at least we try.

But this I think is important. Do you know why it was that people who were illiterate found the means to educate their children so that they could read? Do you know what was the focus of it all? This was one of the most remarkable things, and it was one of those things that I think we have forgotten these days that we need to remember. And that is that so much of the progress that was made in those times--when the law was still against us, when in the South where most black people lived there were actually laws that prevented equal education for black children, and had segregated schools that were not properly supported by the state--and yet the black children still learned. How did that happen?

Now see, we come here to this great house of worship, pastors, to pray. And sometimes I think we forget that this house was also the house that rebuilt the strength of black America. It was this house, it was the house of prayer, it was the house of God, it was the house of faith that became the center of the community's life. When black folks were out there and the whole world seemed dark and against them, and every day seemed to lead to a dead end or to a lynching tree or to something that shut the door in your face, yet the heart of God was open to our people, and our heart of faith responded to the Lord our God. And in that relationship we built community, we built strength, and we found the way, in spite of everything, to take painful step by step by step to move the community forward, in spite of all.

Now I'm not trying to pretend that it wasn't a hard struggle. I might even try to pretend that it wasn't kind of hit or miss, in terms of the ordinary behavior of folks. We have problems right now in the community that I'll be talking about a lot more because the family structure right now is under terrible pressures, in fact, and our community in many respects is in a state of collapse.

Those problems, in terms of how people regarded the relations between the sexes, what responsibilities there were going to be, they're not new problems! You can go back and you can read of the very same problems and difficulties that were right there, some of them engendered by the careless moral attitudes encouraged by slavery, some of them engendered by the circumstances and environment in which people had to live.

The difference, if any, between now and then, is that in those days, in spite of everything, people were straying just as they do now--but when they strayed there was always going to be somebody waiting to try to pull them back home. I remember reading a remarkable statistic in the course of writing Masters of the Dream that showed that even though it's very likely that you had first births out of wedlock in those days, it was much less frequent that a second such birth would occur. Why do you think that was?

Well that was because there were going to be a lot of people running about the community who would be looking over the shoulders of people, and they'd be basically giving help. You see, people always helped out. Nobody was going to kick you out the door because you had gotten into a problem everybody else gets into. But while you were receiving that help, while you were living with mom or grandma or aunt or uncle or whoever, help always came with a little bit of a sermon, and the sermon often consisted of things like: "Why don't you marry that girl?" It would often consist of things like, "He's a good man, why don't you marry him?" And I think a lot of times, marriages probably occurred just because people got tired of being nagged at. And they got tired of being nagged at because people would never give up the standard.

They know we are weak, they know we are sinful just as the Lord God knows we are, but they would never surrender the standard. They would never lie to our children and tell them that wrong was right. They would never lie to them and try to pretend that a path of pleasure and self-indulgence and selfishness and hedonism was in fact a path of truth and growth and light. Because they knew that a lie planted that deeply in heart and conscience would destroy life--and our community has always, in spite of everything that was against us, we have chosen life.

And see, if we hadn't, all those predictions about our extinction would be true, we wouldn't even be here, I wouldn't be talking to you, you wouldn't be listening to me, we wouldn't be here to observe and think and discern how we were going to deal with the challenges of our time, because--if our forebears had not chosen life--they would not have passed it on to us. But they did.

Now I go through all this in order to establish a premise that I believe deeply about black America. And that is the premise that our history of slavery and discrimination and injustice and difficulty did not crush the spirit of our people, did not destroy the moral fiber of our people, did not in fact destroy us, because we had something in us that was more powerful than our circumstances--we had our faith! We had something in our lives more powerful than our circumstances--we had our Lord! We had something more powerful than our circumstances--we had our God! And what I want to tell you tonight is that we still have Him. We still have Him. But I wonder if we are as willing as people were in those days to open our hearts to His truth. For, He told us to choose life.

Now this morning I was on a radio show, and I got a call from a lady and she asked me about this race that I'm involved in and what I wanted to do for the people of Illinois. And the first thing I said to her was that I wanted to end the holocaust of killing that is going on in the womb. And she actually responded to me, like, well now tell me something you're going to do for Illinois.

And I've got to tell you, I find that question hard to understand, anyway. Do you understand what I'm saying? I find that hard to understand. Because right now people are telling me, a lot of people, they're trying to push me off of talking as a matter of priority--I talk about everything, people have noticed that I talk a lot--I'm sorry, but I do, and mostly when I'm asked a question, I'll answer it. And I've talked about economics, and I've talked about how to create jobs, and I've talked about O'Hare expansion, and I've talked about all these materialist money issues everybody wants to talk about. I've talked about how we've got to create jobs--mostly, I think it's a common sense thing. Since businesses provide jobs, in order to have jobs you must have businesses. That seems pretty clear. But tell me how that common sense gets lost on people, though. And then folks will come along and say, "I want to tax businesses out of existence, I want to take all the money from the rich corporations." You take all the money away from the corporations, how are they going to pay people? Somebody needs to tell me how you get jobs by killing businesses. But that's off the subject. I do talk about it, though.

But mostly I have given priority to talking about the moral challenges that confront us. And you know why? It's because I have observed a fact. I have observed it especially, by the way, when it comes to the black community in America. Do you want to know the number one cause of death among our young people in the black community? Some people would say it's AIDS, it's drugs, it's violence, and poverty and all that. It's not true! The number one taker of black life since the early 1970's has been abortion. That's right. Twelve to fourteen million, as I recall, of lives taken. And today we are in a situation--I don't think most people in the community realize this--when if you just look at the statistics, probably for the first time in our history, we have reversed the historic choice of our people.

Through all the terrible ills of slavery, through all the terrible ills of segregation and discrimination, through all the violence of lynching and the Ku Klux Klan, through all the deprivations of that history, we chose life. And our population grew.

And now since the days when, under the leadership of our pastors, by the way, why do we forget this--under the leadership of men of God, under the leadership of women inspired by faith--we moved forward in the Civil Rights Movement, to challenge the conscience of America, to kick open the doors of opportunity, not with violence and not with materialism, but with faith we did it.

And at the end of the day, doors were opened. Everybody came and said they want to help us with this government program and that. And we get to the present day, and what do we find? We find that the black family structure is worse today, according to some historians, than it was during slavery. Can you explain this to me? Somebody needs to explain this to me. Worse system you can imagine for oppressing people and exploiting their labor, and yet today we are faced with a more catastrophic situation in the family structure of the black community than we faced during slavery, than we faced during segregation, than we faced during Jim Crowe segregation and injustice and the lynching. How is this?

I'll tell you how it is. It's symbolized right there by that whole abortion problem. Because this is a time when in order to take black life, you don't have to throw a rope over a tree and get a gang of people in hoods. They have actually found a way to get black folks to reach into the future of our own community and snuff out the light of hope that ought to burn there.

For the first time in our history, more black children are being aborted in the womb than are being born.

Oh wait, everybody always tells me you already knew that! No, a lot of people don't know that, don't realize how far we have gone down this road of death for our people, and don't yet, I think, begin to understand its full implications.

I just want to talk about one. I was reading just now, I was talking with Pastor Tyler about the fact that there is right here in this community a remarkable young man, an eleven-year-old. He was written about in the paper today, math wiz. I mean he is just one of the most promising human individuals--don't even say black individual--just one of the most promising human individuals you can imagine. And we were talking to each other about what would have happened if that young child, if his mother had decided to follow the trend and abort that baby. We wouldn't know all that genius.

And people will say, well, we do know it. And I'm thinking, yeah, we do know it. But every time--I was thinking this at the Bud Billiken Parade, when I was marching and I'd see all these beautiful children along the route, and I would go up especially and shake their hand and talk to them, because they would invite you. You know how children are, they're just so fresh, and they're so ready to say hi and etcetera. But what I was thinking about as I shook their hands, and I'm thinking about it now as I look at the lovely faces of the beautiful young ladies in the pew right here, and the young children throughout the congregation--you know what I'm seeing? I'm seeing all the children that aren't here. I'm seeing all the beautiful faces that ought to be here.

I'm seeing the ones we know, but also the ones we will never know. The others who might have genius IQ's, and voices like angels, who might have hands that could do the finest work of art, that might have hearts that could heal in a hospital and nurse people back to health, that might have consciences that would guide us clear in the dark depths of our moral confusion, but they are not here.

They were gifts from God, they were words He meant to speak to us, and we will not hear them now!

And some people say, well that's all right, Alan, because we have hard times, and we wouldn't want to bring our babies into the world when we can't take care of them, and all of this. What if our ancestors had said this, y'all? What if the people who were our forebears, who are our grandparents and great grandparents, had said this? And you know what message that sends?

Why don't we understand that if we look at a situation and say, better to abort a child than bring it into the world, we are telling all our lovely children in this world who are faced with difficulties and faced with hardships that it would have been better if they had never been born.

Why don't we see this? Well, I want to tell them all right now, that that lie should be driven from your hearts. Drive it out of your hearts, drive it out of your minds, there is no circumstance so hard that with the help of God you cannot overcome it. There is no darkness so great that with the light of Christ you cannot see through it. There is no challenge so large that with the great hand of God to lift you up you will not get over it. That's the message of our heritage, that's the message of our faith, that's the message that we owe to our children.

And we need to pass it on, not just with our lips, but with our actions. We need to pass it on by rediscovering what has been the great word of our heritage. God said, I have set before thee life and death, choose life--and our people have obeyed it, until now.

Now I want to say that that last part, that's a special challenge to everyone of course, in the black community, but it's a special challenge, if I may say so, to people of faith in the black community. Who are we? Who are we, people of faith, who profess to follow Jesus Christ? We are people who have let His mind be our mind, we are people who have put on the robe of His Spirit and set before us the shining lamp of His example of love and healing and hope and compassion and sacrifice.

And I ask myself sometimes, I've been asking it in the course of this campaign I'm in, simple questions. And some people don't understand how I have behaved. But I've got to tell you, I have one simple rubric when I am thinking about questions, particularly moral questions--it's the rubric that I think we're all supposed to have. I don't want to be represented by a single word, a single position, a single policy, a single choice, that would not be safe in the hands of Jesus Christ.

And I will tell you, in today's world, that's hard, that's hard. But it's not as hard as some people make it.

There are issues like, I'm told that in the Illinois State Senate a vote was cast on a bill, because people have discovered a practice that, sadly, is still going on because the whole situation's been unresolved--where the hospitals, in the course of a botched abortion, a little baby will be born, and it's born alive so that it's living separate from the mother, and the nurses there are holding this living human child in her arms, and the question is, what do you do with that baby?

Now here's a simple way to give the answer. I just imagine that instead of that nurse standing there holding the baby, it was the Lord holding the baby. Now can somebody here tell me just as simply as you can, if the Lord was holding that baby, what would He do? The Lord would love that baby, the Lord would heal that baby, the Lord would share the strength of His life with that baby, He would do everything He could to make sure that that baby ended up sitting in one of these pews, right here with us to offer the light and life of a smiling hope as they're doing there right now. Yes, He would. He would choose life.

But in our state right now, what they do with that baby in a lot of our hospitals, some of them, they just take that baby, put it in a soiled-linen closet and let it die. I want you to keep this in your mind. They put it aside to let it die. I was told today, after I said that, that "Alan, why aren't you talking about jobs, and why aren't you talking about money issues?" I do talk about those issues, but I talk about this other one first. And I'll tell you exactly why. Because I hate the mentality, do you understand? I'll say it again. I hate the mentality that puts money over human life and dignity. I hate it.

Do you know why I hate it? I hate it because if you are willing to put human dignity lower than money, you are doing exactly what the people who bought and sold our ancestors did! When they were approached and people said this is immoral, this is wrong, this violates dignity, they said we need it for our economy, we need it for our profits, we need it for our greed. And they went on selling and buying and beating and enslaving, because they put dignity below money, below materialism, below jobs, below economy. I will never do this! I will never do it because I know that heritage, I will never do it because my Lord would never do it.

And so I say, if there is that kind of injustice going on, I feel a special obligation as a black American to understand it, to know it, and to do something to stop it. Because you know what broke my heart the most when I read about that slavery heritage? It wasn't just the slaveholders, it wasn't just the overseers beating the slaves, it wasn't just the masters using people like they were beasts or chattel or things and instruments for their pleasure. What really broke my heart was all the people who professed to know the difference between right and wrong, who professed to see the wrong of slavery, who professed to know that it was unjust and terrible, but who sat by and did nothing, who sat by and said nothing while that injustice went on.

And I ask myself, how can anybody, in the black community especially, sit by while the holocaust is made among the babies? But especially, how can anyone of Christian conscience sit by while life is taken in the womb?

And some people will say, well what's that got to do with our situation? And I think, our situation is a lot tied up with the family breakdown--you know that, the fatherless children growing up in homes where the mother and father aren't married, where sometimes the father isn't even known. And something's being done. Mothers everywhere in our community with loving hearts, and patience, they are filling in the gap, they are standing on the wall, they are raising up the children as best they can--and a lot of them doing a good job, too. But it's under a tremendous burden that serves to keep them behind, to slow the whole community down, and to expose our young, especially our young men, to the terrible risks that have filled up the prisons with those who ought to be filling up our homes with strength and wisdom and the power of their guidance. Right?

Because when you have turned your back on that loving gift of God's children, then the whole business of human sexuality is just about pleasure, it's just about using one another to get pleasure, it's not about committing yourself to the child, it's not about committing yourself to the future, it's not about being willing to bear the responsibility and the discipline and the sacrifice that is involved in raising up children in the way that they should go, so the future can be strengthened by their strength and by their hope. It's not about that anymore.

And when it's not about that, the young men turn away from their children. And when it's not about that, the young women are left alone when they ought to be supported and worked with in partnership as God intended.

When we suppress our commitment to the child, when we substitute recreation for procreation, when we substitute abortion for being willing sacrificially to commit, as our ancestors did--in every circumstance no matter how hard the challenge--to commit to life, then we end up killing the very spirit that is needed for the strength of our families.

And you know you can't have economic progress if you don't have family progress. We've learned that lesson the hard way in the last decade or two. And we need now to start applying the truth, if we really want to build a path of hope in a material sense, then we must rebuild the path of hope for our families, for our mother, father, children, families. Encouraging people to understand that they should get married and stay married, that they should find just as their ancestors did--you know there are fathers out there right now who need to do just what our slave ancestors did when slavery ended--go find your children! Go offer them your lives, go offer them your work, go offer them that commitment that will help to lift them up to the future. It has been done before and we can do it now, if we are willing to commit ourselves to the truth, that it's not just about us and it's not just about pleasure. It's about God, it's about the future that can be produced when we respect His will for our lives.

I think that is the key to dealing with a lot of the challenges that now face our community, and I now use that word community in the largest sense. For you see, I know that as a people, we in the black community have a special heritage and a special vision and even special challenges today. But you know what that also means? It means that we have a special word to speak to America and to the world in this great time of spiritual and moral need. Perhaps the greatest lesson I took away from my study of that heritage was this truth--that at the end of the day, human life isn't about the money. Because I read about people, and I lived with people when I grew up, they didn't have much money, and some of them had no money at all, some of them had so little that they couldn't even claim ownership in their own bodies in the time of slavery.

But they had treasures. They had the treasures that would lead them to lay down their lives for their young ones. They had the treasure of the man who was so determined that his child would escape that he was willing to let his right arm be cut off before he would reveal where he had gone. That is the heart of people who have stored up in themselves a moral treasure, a righteous treasure--a treasure that cannot be measured in the balance of our material things, but that can overcome material circumstances in order to make sure that a flame of truth and hope lights the way to the future.

We have a special word to speak as black Americans--that freedom isn't just about the money you make and the car you drive and the house you live in. It's about whether or not in the midst of everything that stands against you, you will still love your child, be true to your word, keep your promise to the woman that you married, and to the future that you will make together. We are a people that understand the worth of this moral treasure, and we must begin now to draw down the treasure of our heritage in order to build up the strength of our future. And in doing so, we will set an example that will offer a materialistically soul-deadened world a renewed proof that the spirit of humanity does not die when faith keeps it alive.

And you know where the fire that will do this will come from? It will come from right here. It will come from hearts dedicated to God, it will come from the praise that lifts up our hearts in times of hardship, it will come as it has come in the past, from the house of faith, from the house of God, from the house of worship, from the people of God, from the church.

Answer this call, and I feel that we can start here a great new revival of the spirit in our hearts, and that the grace that comes from our prayers and from our work and from our example will spread through our community, will wash like a flood over our land, will offer hope to our world. And we will hold it up like a beacon, this understanding that comes to us from our forebears. And we will learn that like a coal hidden in the earth and under the great pressure of all the centuries, it becomes the hardened beautiful diamond for which men give their lives.

So we have, in the treasure of our heritage, in the truth of our spirit, a hard bright diamond of hope that will shine out like a star in the history of our land to renew the promise that was broken to us, but that we have reforged in the terrible trials of our history--the promise of faith that is the promise of freedom, that is the promise of America to the world. And it shall be our word that lifts up that promise, so that the world will know that it cannot die. God bless you.

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