Ideas are like stars; you will not succeed in touching them with your hands. But like the seafaring man in the desert of waters, you choose them as your guides, and following them you will reach you destiny. Perhaps you could get a clearer idea of our destiny if we took time out to examine our ideas, and upgraded them if necessary. What things are most important to you? If you could do anything you wanted to be, what would you be? If you could achieve a single objective in life, what would it be?
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When the life of the nation was attempted, when the cause of liberty and human rights called for their aid, they rushed forth to rally under the banner they loved, with grand singleness of purpose and heroic devotion--leaving all behind them, to meet toil and danger, hunger, sickness, wounds, and death, for nothing but the sublime satisfaction of doing their duty to their country and to mankind.
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I confidently trust that the American people will prove themselves ... too wise not to detect the false pride or the dangerous ambitions or the selfish schemes which so often hide themselves under that deceptive cry of mock patriotism: "Our country, right or wrong!" They will not fail to recognize that our dignity, our free institutions and the peace and welfare of this and coming generations of Americans will be secure only as we cling to the watchword of true patriotism: "Our country - when right to be kept right; when wrong to be put right.
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I have always been in favor of a healthy Americanization, but that does not mean a complete disavowal of our German heritage. It means that our character should take on the best of that which is American, and combine it with the best of that which is German. By doing this, we can best serve the American people and their civilization.