Americans often look to the president during certain times in our country. They look for hope in the context of tragedy, as they did to Ronald Reagan following the space shuttle Challenger disaster. They look for healing in the wake of evil, as they did with Bill Clinton after the Oklahoma City bombing. They look for resoluteness and leadership as they did with Franklin D. Roosevelt following the attack on Pearl Harbor and as they did with George W. Bush after the attacks of 9/11.

Often times, Americans look to presidents to inspire: to remind Americans of the greatness of our country, both past and present.

In Ronald Reagan’s 1986 Independence Day address, he did just that:

Here is the key part:

My fellow Americans, it falls to us to keep faith with them and all the great Americans of our past. Believe me, if there’s one impression I carry with me after the privilege of holding for 5 1/2 years the office held by Adams and Jefferson and Lincoln, it is this: that the things that unite us — America’s past of which we’re so proud, our hopes and aspirations for the future of the world and this much-loved country — these things far outweigh what little divides us.

And so tonight we reaffirm that Jew and gentile, we are one nation under God; that black and white, we are one nation indivisible; that Republican and Democrat, we are all Americans. Tonight, with heart and hand, through whatever trial and travail, we pledge ourselves to each other and to the cause of human freedom, the cause that has given light to this land and hope to the world.

The rest of the text of his address can be found here. 


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