Remarks in South McAlester, Indian Territory

April 05, 1905

I am particularly glad to greet everywhere I have been today so many school children. I need not tell you that what really counts in any State is the character of the men and women who make up that State. You have a wonderful climate. You are developing great industries. But all of that will not avail if you don't have the right type of men and women in the State. That is what counts. I believe you are getting that type. I believe you are paying heed to the education of the young people, of these girls and boys that I see before me, who in ten or fifteen years will be running things.

I do not want to preach, but I do want to say just a word or two to make you understand the responsibility that rests upon you. Right fully, we take the most intense pride in our country. We have a right to say that this is a pretty big country, because it is. But even more important than being proud of it now is to see that those who come after us will have the same right to feel proud of it that we have. We are proud now of what our fathers did in the days that tried men' s souls, and in time of war or in time of peace we must so conduct ourselves that those who come after us will have the same right to be proud of their ancestors as this generation has to be proud of our ancestors of the Civil War.

Theodore Roosevelt, Remarks in South McAlester, Indian Territory Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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