You and I join here with the rest of the Nation in
dedicating this site as a memorial to the valiant dead of the World War. Here
will rise a fitting structure—a symbol of devoted patriotism and unselfish
We in America do not build monuments to war. We do not
build monuments to conquest. We build monuments to commemorate the spirit of
sacrifice in war—reminders of our desire for peace.
The memory of those whom the War called to the beyond
urges us to consecrate the best that is in us to the service of country in
times of peace. We best honor the memory of those dead by striving for peace,
that the terror of the days of war will be with us no more. In what we have
done during the last three years to promote national recovery at home, to
extend the hand of the good neighbor to the Nations of the world, to break down
the barriers to commerce which divide Nation from Nation, we are promoting the
course of peace throughout the world.
Here at home is the call to service too.
Inequalities in our social order call for correction. A
true patriotism urges us to build an even more substantial America where the
good things of life may be shared by more of us, where the social injustices
will not be encouraged to flourish. The many different occupations in our
economic and social order can and must be tied more closely together for their
mutual advantage and for the advantage of America.
It is significant that the site of this memorial to the
veterans of the World War is also the site of the beginning of the old Oregon
trail. Here those pioneers of old left to begin that long trek across an
unknown country. They faced the dangers ahead of them with stout heart and
determined mind. They carried the civilization of their day to new outposts.
They carried the spirit of America to a broader destiny.
We seek to follow their example along another trail. They
turned not back. Let us not turn back in what we seek in these years, for our
goal is a sounder and more permanent well-being in America.
We honor them and we will carry on.
May the beauty of the monument which is rising on this
site cast a beneficent light on the memories of our comrades, may its
substantial structure typify the strength of their purpose, and may it inspire
future generations with the desire to be of service to their fellows and their
All major wars have brought about major disturbances in
our social and economic machinery. The late War has been no exception. New problems
arise to take the places of the old. We rejoice here that these problems are
being met and solved without impairing our faith and confidence in the people's
ability to do it themselves by the peaceful processes of democratic
No place could be more fitting to reaffirm that faith and
confidence than a monument to those who have died in a gallant effort to save
democracy for the world. No place could be more fitting to renew our resolve
that that faith will guide us and direct these our efforts of today. May we
keep the faith.
(Credits: Photograph of the Cenotaph is from the Soldiers Memorial Military Museum Facebook page. Speech is from the American Presidency Project.)