Thoughts and Advice from
1-800-Flowers.com Founder Jim McCann
In these anxious times, I find it is sometimes comforting to look back to wisdom forged in crises past. Few captured our country’s amazing resilience as well as FDR. I was recently reminded of this often-overlooked passage from his fourth inaugural address in 1945. FDR shared these remarkable words with Americans looking to him for guidance. I hope his words inspire you, as they did me:
“We shall strive for perfection. We shall not achieve it immediately—but we still shall strive. We may make mistakes—but they must never be mistakes which result from faintness of heart or abandonment of moral principle.
I remember that my old schoolmaster, Dr. Peabody, said in days that seemed to us then to be secure and untroubled, ‘Things in life will not always run smoothly. Sometimes we will be rising toward the heights—then all will seem to reverse itself and start downward. The great fact to remember is that the trend of civilization itself is forever upward; that a line drawn through the middle of the peaks and the valleys of the centuries always has an upward trend.’
Our Constitution of 1787 was not a perfect instrument; it is not perfect yet. But it provided a firm base upon which all manner of men, of all races and colors and creeds, could build our solid structure of democracy.
Today, in this year of war, 1945, we have learned lessons—at a fearful cost—and we shall profit by them.
We have learned that we cannot live alone, at peace; that our own well-being is dependent on the well-being of other Nations, far away. We have learned that we must live as men and not as ostriches, nor as dogs in the manger.
We have learned to be citizens of the world, members of the human community.
We have learned the simple truth, as Emerson said, that, ‘The only way to have a friend is to be one.’
We can gain no lasting peace if we approach it with suspicion and mistrust or with fear. We can gain it only if we proceed with the understanding and the confidence and the courage which flow from conviction.
The Almighty God has blessed our land in many ways. He has given our people stout hearts and strong arms with which to strike mighty blows for freedom and truth. He has given to our country a faith which has become the hope of all peoples in an anguished world.
So we pray to Him now for the vision to see our way clearly to see the way that leads to a better life for ourselves and for all our fellow men—and to the achievement of His will to peace on earth.”