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Herbert Hoover: Armistice Day Address at the Dedication of the District of Columbia War Memorial.
Herbert Hoover
404 - Armistice Day Address at the Dedication of the District of Columbia War Memorial.
November 11, 1931
Public Papers of the Presidents
Herbert Hoover<br>1931
Herbert Hoover

District of Columbia
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GREAT SHRINES in our National Capital mark reverent remembrance of those who have given sacrifice and glory to the Nation. Marble and bronze, in their eloquence of silence and beauty, tell the deathless story of heroic deeds done for our country.

We gather here today to dedicate a new shrine to those residents of the District of Columbia who served in the World War. This temple will recall for all time their services and sacrifices.

It is particularly fitting that these services should be held on Armistice Day, when, throughout the Nation, our citizens pause to honor all those who gave their lives in the greatest conflict which has ever engulfed the world.

Thirteen years to the day and hour have passed since the guns ceased their destruction of life, and nations began their march back to peace and reconstruction. That day was a day of rejoicing in victory, a day of pride in the valor of our Army and Navy, a day of hope for peace in a better world. With each succeeding year, Armistice Day has come to be a day to pay tribute to the millions who valiantly bore arms in a worthy cause and to renew resolves that the peace for which these men sacrificed themselves shall be maintained.

However great our desire for peace, we must not assume that the peace for which these men died has become assured to the world or that the obligations which they left to us, the living, have been discharged. The minds of many races still are stirred by memories of centuries of injustice; in others there is ever present the fear of invasion and domination; many peoples are filled with hopes of liberty and independence. The boundaries of many nations are but zones of age-old contention. The growth of population and economic striving press against the borders of others. Worldwide expansion of commerce and industry, with its vast interchange of citizens, brings the daily obligation of self-respecting nations to see that their nationals abroad in pacific pursuits shall not be unjustly imperiled as to life and property. In every country men can secure public attention and even a living by stirring malignant forces of fear and hate of their neighbors. As a result of these forces the world is more heavily armed than even before the Great War.

All of these dangers present to statesmen a world where peace cannot be had by resolution and injunction alone. Peace is the product of preparedness for defense, the patient settlement of controversy, and the dynamic development of the forces of good will. It is the result of the delicate balance of that realism born of human experience and of idealism born of the highest of human aspirations for international justice.

The backwash of forces loosened by the Great War has grown until during the past 2 years the stability of many nations has been greatly shaken. This, with their fears and discouragement for the future, weakened confidence throughout the whole financial and economic world. That loss of confidence added enormously to unemployment, to the distress of agriculture and business everywhere. From it all we have been passing through an emergency second only to the Great War.

But the emergency has brought a realization that the outstanding problem of statesmanship today in every country and in every part of the world is to reestablish confidence, not alone each nation in its own institutions, but among nations. And no greater contribution can be made to economic relief than day-to-day conclusive demonstration that progress is being made in relieving stress and strain which now so oppress the atmosphere of the family of nations.

Such action requires no treaties, no documents, and no commitments. It requires only that each nation realize the situation that exists; that it contribute in its own policies and within its own best interest to the building of good will and the rebuilding of confidence.

That progress is being made. It has been made by frank, sincere, and direct personal conferences on mutual problems between heads of states throughout the world. It has been made by similar action among the financial, industrial, and social institutions of the world. These discussions have developed common action and have increased good will and confidence. These consistent efforts are providing new avenues of relief and are assuredly turning the tide for a greatly suffering world.

It is by building good will and constructive effort among nations that we can best honor the memory of the men who died that the world should have peace. This monument stands for men who fought not alone for their country but to establish the principles of justice and peace. We pay tribute here to their valor. We honor them for their sacrifice. We respect their memory by renewing our obligations to the purposes and ideals for which they fought.

Note: The President spoke at 11 a.m. at the dedication of the memorial to the soldiers and sailors of World War I from the District of Columbia.
Citation: Herbert Hoover: "Armistice Day Address at the Dedication of the District of Columbia War Memorial.," November 11, 1931. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project. http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=22904.
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