Remarks in Danville, Virginia

September 09, 1902

My fellow citizens:

I did not expect to have the chance of speaking to any of you of Virginia on this trip. I only wish it had been my good fortune to be able to go through your grand and beautiful historic State by daylight. But you have not escaped me, gentlemen; I am going to come again.

Yesterday and today I spent in Tennessee and North Carolina. I have enjoyed much those two days. It is a good thing for any American, and it is an especially good thing for the American who happens to be President at any time, to go around the country and meet his fellow-Americans of different sections and different States. The more he sees of his fellow-Americans the more he will realize that the differences which divide them are trivial and that the likenesses which unite them are fundamental. A good American is a good American wherever he is, and a bad American is a poor one wherever he is. If a man is a decent citizen, if he does his duty to his family, to his neighbors, to the State and the nation, as a decent man ought to, then he is a man who has a right to claim kinship and comradeship with every other decent American from one end of this country to the other. If he is a straight man he is a credit to all of us, and if he is a crooked man he is a disgrace to all of us. Fundamentally, for weal or for woe, we are knit together; we shall go up or go down together. If hard times come they come without much regard to State lines. If good times come they come without regard to State lines. Wherever a deed is done by an American which reflects credit upon our country, each of us can walk with his head a little higher in consequence; and wherever anything happens through the fault of any of us that is discreditable it discredits all of us more or less.

Gentlemen and ladies, I thank you greatly for having come down here to greet me. It is a genuine pleasure to see you. No man of the United States, proud of the history of the United States, can fail to feel certain associations of reverence and regard awakened when he treads the soil of Virginia, which has taken so leading a part in peace and in war throughout our history.

Theodore Roosevelt, Remarks in Danville, Virginia Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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