The once-unthinkable has become commonplace. As cheerful optimism is supplanted by acute pessimism, many of the 300 million in our country now spend time, everyday, pondering our future path. And for the first time in ages, the definitive answers at which we once arrived with relative ease now escape us.
All is not lost, however. In fact the solutions we seek are readily available if only we apply the proper formula. One of America's most distinguished guardians, dead for nearly a half-century, summed it up best:
"History fails to record a single precedent in which nations subject to moral decay have not passed into political and economic decline. There has been either a spiritual awakening to overcome the moral lapse, or a progressive deterioration leading to ultimate national disaster."
-- General of the Army Douglas MacArthur (1880-1964), Supreme Commander of Allied Forces in the Pacific during World War II and recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor; from General MacArthur Speeches and Reports 1908-1964, (2000, p. 198) ed. by Colonel Edward T. Imparato, USAF; also found in America's God and Country Encyclopedia of Quotations (1996, p. 407) by William J. Federer
And one more, just for good measure...
"From your ranks come the great captains who hold the nation's destiny in their hands the moment the war tocsin sounds. The Long Gray Line has never failed us. Were you to do so, a million ghosts in olive drab, in brown khaki, in blue and gray, would rise from their white crosses thundering those magic words: Duty, Honor, Country. This does not mean that you are war mongers. On the contrary, the soldier, above all other people, prays for peace, for he must suffer and bear the deepest wounds and scars of war. But always in our ears ring the ominous words of Plato, that wisest of all philosophers: 'Only the dead have seen the end of war.'"
-- from MacArthur's "Duty, Honor, Country" address to the United States Military Academy; May 12, 1962. MacArthur himself graduated first in his class at West Point in 1903.