Thought For The Week

Thought for the Week (December 31st, 2001)

Sensei David Baker, Denshi/Shihan
Midtown Karate Dojo

In thinking how to commemorate both the renewal implicit in the New Year and
the renewal underway here in New York City after the September 11 attack, I
was incapable of finding better quotes than the founding documents of this
nation, as it broke away from its colonial motherland to be reborn as an
independent nation, and also in some follow-up quotes regarding our ongoing
struggle to maintain our freedom:

Declaration of Independence - Second Paragraph, excerpt
July 4, 1776 - Thomas Jefferson, primary author:

"We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal,
that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that
among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness - That to secure
these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just
Powers from the Consent of the Governed, that whenever any Form of Government
becomes destructive of these Ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or
to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its Foundation on such
Principles, and organizing its Powers in such Form, as to them shall seem
most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness."

Constitution of the United States
Adopted 1789 - James Madison, primary author

"We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union,
establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common
defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to
ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for
the United States of America."

Next, the final paragraph of Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, November
19, 1863, at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, (The entire speech was Mackay Sensei's
Thought for the Week on February 19, 2001.):

(Lincoln is speaking at the dedication of the battlefield cemetery, which to
me echoes what might be said at the dedication of the memorial to be erected
at "Ground Zero" here in Manhattan.)

"But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate-we cannot consecrate-we cannot
hallow-this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have
consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will
little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what
they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the
unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced.
It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before
us-that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for
which they gave the last full measure of devotion-that we here highly resolve
that these dead shall not have died in vain-that this nation, under God,
shall have a new birth of freedom-and that government of the people, by the
people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."

And finally, admonitions to us to be ever vigilant to maintain and renew:
"Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo
the fatigue of supporting it." - Thomas Paine
"God grants liberty only to those who love it, and are always ready to guard
and defend it." - Daniel Webster
"If we are to maintain the great heritage which has been bequeathed to us, we
must be like-minded as the fathers who created it." - Calvin Coolidge

Have a Happy and Renewing New Year.

Domo arigato gozaimasu,
Baker Sensei,