Endurance is a test of greatness. For our nation, the test began 186 years ago in Philadelphia when 56 American patriots signed the Declaration of Independence.

Originally published in The Kiowa County Signal - July 1, 1962

Endurance is a test of greatness. For our nation, the test began 186 years ago in Philadelphia when 56 American patriots signed the Declaration of Independence. From that historic moment on, the bells of freedom in our land have rung loud and clear…. a triumphant message to a troubled world that America is indeed a beacon of hope for oppressed freedom loving people.

On the anniversary of that auspicious occasion we should give humble thanks to God for the spiritual heritage won by these men of destiny. Our freedom, prosperity and stature as a world power are attestations to their far-reaching efforts. We should rededicate ourselves to the constant support and eternal preservation of the self-evident truths, which were so dear to them.

Unfortunately, in some circles today the apologetic approach to patriotism is becoming fashionable. The faith and principles, which withstood the ravages of wars, subversion and crime over the years, is almost passé. Any exhibitions of national pride and reverence for the American flag are merely by vote. The burning zeal of patriotism, which was in the hearts of men of ’76, in many instances, has turned to selfishness, apathy and indulgence.

To my mind this is a dangerous trend. It is a departure from the ideals which typify the American way of life and it is a grievous example for our impressionable youth. The seeds of doubt germinate quickly in their fertile minds. Recently, one precocious high school editor is said to have proclaimed that “patriotism has outlived its usefulness” and that being patriotic in our time “is to be a blindly stupid human being.” God forbid that such misguided observations should reflect the reasoning of any sizable segment of our youth.

There was no diluted patriotism at Independence Hall nor were there any combat “turncoats” at Valley Forge. These are latter-day by-products of decadent thinking. They represent a compromise of the moral and spiritual issues so vital to our survival. There can be no compromise where the cause of freedom is concerned.

Our history is replete with names of patriots who paid the supreme sacrifice in winning and protecting our priceless heritage. These were men of action — men whose extraordinary deeds bespoke their belief in a nation conceived in liberty and dedicated to the equality of all men. Today perhaps as never before America has need for doers of extraordinary deeds, men and women with the moral strength and courage of our forefathers. The smoldering embers of patriotism should be fanned into a flaming spirit of loyalty, so that the whole world will know Americans will stand, fight and die for the dignity of man.

We of law enforcement share in this noble cause. We must not only help preserve the high ideals of our great Republic but we must also be certain that there is no invasion of the rights and liberties of the individual from any source.

As patriotic Americans let us not fail the test of greatness. On the contrary, let us assure that this Nation, under God, shall remain free and that our government of the people, by the people and for the people will endure.