“Honesty and uprightness and virtue“; such “trite,” old-fashioned words. “It is not what we have that will make us a great nation; it is the way in which we use it.” We became a great nation when honesty, uprightness, and virtue were not trite, archaic words. We can again find the path that led us there and follow it where it may lead. The Dakotas were a new territory both geographically and in spirit. We can become a new territory in spirit just as the Dakotas were then a new territory in spirit; spirit is the more important of the two.
Even though “we have fallen heirs to the most glorious heritage a people ever received,” the problems of our far more populous nation are now different and greater than then but so are the opportunities if we remember that “we have the responsibilities of sovereigns, not of subjects.” It is only necessary that we remember our past, recognize our problems, and deal with them as we must, as sovereigns rather than as serfs.
We cannot change the past, though many have tried to edit it to fit their current perceptions of right and wrong, good and evil. In recent years, we’ve come a long way, baby, and often the way has been a wrong one. The future, however, is still in our hands and we can make of it only what we will, in national sickness and in national health, for better or for worse. Nations, not cared for by their sovereigns, the people, rot because they let them.
Today, but not only today, we must remember our basic foundations, act upon them, and preserve them for future generations; soon enough it will be their job to do that, but if we don’t succeed they may well not find a solid foundation upon which to build, and themselves to pass on to their successors, a strong and good nation.