No people can look forward who do not look backward. The strongest guarantee of the future is the past. Unless that which has been built shall stand with an assured security, the motive for further building is destroyed, and all our structures will go down in ruins.
We need not only the story but the symbols of past history. We can best preserve our institutions by preserving our confidence in the men who did so much to establish them. It is only when men begin to worship that they begin to grow. A wholesome regard for the memory of the great men of long ago is the best assurance to a people of a continuation of great men to come, who shall still be able to instruct, to lead, and to inspire. A people who worship at the shrine of true greatness will themselves be truly great…
This is the course of that inspiration which has moved different organizations to gather up the traditions of the past, to mark the location of historic events, to restore and preserve ancient habitations and buildings. It is all intensely American, it is done in the knowledge that where men have worked and wrought righteousness, there is holy ground.
— Calvin Coolidge, excerpt from a speech called “The Great Virginians,” July 6, 1922
Happy 244th Year of Independence, America, and Happy 148th Birthday, Calvin Coolidge!