Woodrow Wilson photo

Remarks at the Central Train Station in Milan, Italy

January 05, 1919

Ladies and Gentlemen: YOU make my heart very warm indeed by a welcome like this, and I know the significance of this sort of welcome in Milan, because I know how the heart of Italy and of the Italian people beats strong here. It is delightful to feel how your thoughts have turned towards us, because our thoughts first turned towards you, and they turn toward you from not a new but an ancient friendship, because the American people have long felt the pulse of Italy beat with their pulse in the desire for freedom. We have been students of your history, sir. We know the vicissitudes and struggles through which you have passed. We know that no nation has more steadfastly held to a single course of freedom in its desires and its efforts than have the people of Italy, and therefore I come to this place, where the life of Italy seems to beat so strong, with a peculiar gratification. I feel that I am privileged to come into contact with you, and I want you to know how the words that I am uttering of sympathy and of friendship are not my own alone, but they are the words of the great people whom I represent. I was saying a little while ago at the monument to Columbus that he did a great thing, greater even than was realized at the time it was done. He discovered a new continent not only, but he opened it to children of freedom, and those children are now privileged to come back to their mother and to assist her in the high enterprise upon which her heart had always been set.

It is therefore with the deepest gratification that I find myself here and thank you for your generous welcome.

Woodrow Wilson, Remarks at the Central Train Station in Milan, Italy Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/317718

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