We are gathered here today under the auspices of the associated student body responding to our president’s call for a time of remembrance and prayer for those killed and injured in the terrorist attacks on Tuesday.
In many ways, the president’s call is similar to that of Abraham Lincoln’s in March of 1863 when the union cause was still faltering and there was a question of survival of the nation. At that time, Lincoln said, “We have been recipients of choicest bounties of Heaven; we have been preserved these many years in peace and prosperity; we have grown in numbers, wealth and power as no other nation has ever grown.”
Much of the situation of 1863 can be compared to today. The country is filled with anger and rage and at the same time that we are remembering the fallen, many people are calling for action, any kind of action, to send the message of solidarity with those who have been injured and killed. This is a time when we need to make rational decisions based on knowledge and not emotion, and we must be certain that we don’t destroy the freedoms that we are defending as we seek to send a lesson to those who perpetrated this crime.
It’s a time for clear and rational thinking so that the country will pursue a policy that not only validates our integrity but also ensures peace for future generations.
Just as Woodrow Wilson tried to proclaim after World War I that the seeds of future wars are sown in the peace treaties that end wars, we must be certain that what we do ends the war and not simply sets the fire for future conflicts.
This is a time when all Americans must unite, irrespective of political or religious beliefs, to uphold the principles that this country holds dear to both punish those responsible, make certain that it cannot be repeated, and in all of our actions, to uphold the principles upon which the country was founded. It is also a time when many of you want to do something and whether it’s contributing to emergency funds for the victims, giving blood, or simply displaying your patriotism, that is far better than merely expressing anger.
Although we may seem helpless, it is far better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.