Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation

Benjamin McDaniel

In the United States of America, great suffering lives next to unbounded joy. Poverty thrives in the shadow of wealth in every community and neighborhood as ignorance isolates and then strips the dignity of those afflicted by its grip. The prosperity enjoyed by man in America has heretofore been unknown throughout the span of recorded history, yet the feeling of despair is omnipresent in our society. As we assess the tenor of our United States 150 years removed from the greatest struggle our nation has endured, the changing face of our population reminds us of the connection that binds past to present and leads us forward into the future. The war that tore the fabric of those bonds gave our nation an opportunity for rebirth in an image we admire and aspire to. We have been given a noble calling to become the better men and women we desire to be as we welcome the future and its glories. In this way, we are left to decide with our actions what fate will befall the future histories of our country. Within every American dwells the spirit of our fore-bearers. The courage of conviction and the spirit of duty that shaped this great nation into a patch-work of equals lies dormant ready to be engaged for future challenges. It now behooves all men to look into themselves and find the best examples of their nature to display for our posterity. The pace of modern life is merciless in its urgency and will not abate. The future is unwritten for a reason. Now is the moment to become the people we strive to be.