Public Papers of Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1958

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Author: Dwight D. Eisenhower  | Date: September 26, 1958

269
Address at the Fort Ligonier Bicentennial Celebration, Ligonier, Pennsylvania.
September 26, 1958

Mr. Chairman, General Mellon, Senator Martin, My Friends:

It is a privilege to join with you today to celebrate the Bicentennial of Fort Ligonier.

Remnants of early frontier forts, standing across our continent, are monuments to the struggles our forebears went through to create opportunity in a free life for themselves and their children. They were not turned back by terror of the unknown; they did not succumb to the tensions and privations encountered beyond the fringes of civilization. They moved ahead as companions in adventure, well knowing that danger is often the inseparable partner of progress and honor. Aware of the risks in pioneering, they built frontier forts—places of refuge in crises; secure bases from which to continue their advance to the Pacific.

Ligonier was one of the significant outposts in frontier history. It now begins its third century of existence. Thanks to the public interest of many citizens, a large part of this historic site has been restored, so that today we see it much as it must have appeared to young Colonel Washington two hundred years ago.

Now our histories give no accounts of military combats won or lost at Ligonier. But under the reassuring shadow of the Fort passed one of the greatest forward movements in our history—it was the migration of our forefathers over the mountains, down the Ohio, into the rich heartland of America, and across the Mississippi to the West beyond.

For those travelers, Fort Ligonier offered temporary shelter from the dangers of the trim. More than this, it gave visible strength and substance to the dreams that were one day to build, out of a vast wilderness, a mighty nation.

These venturesome people put their trust in God—but they kept their powder dry. And the essence of the leadership example they set before us was that, so deep was their faith in the nation’s destiny, they resolutely bore the sacrifices of the present to realize the future’s bright promise.

Fort Ligonier reminds us also today that this nation and our allies are maintaining forts in distant lands.

In so doing we have but one purpose, to defend freedom, to help free men who are fighting to protect freedom.

We do not seek more territory or any selfish advantage; we stand only for principle—to help build a permanent peace—a fortress of freedom to which all mankind can repair.

Most of us recall that great hymn, "A Mighty fortress Is Our God, a Bulwark Never failing." That hymn speaks to us of strength and protection, but not of a hiding place for people who fear to move forward.
The fortress of faith is a shelter only for those who are truly unafraid.
We need to live that faith.
Let us not listen to those who despair of the future.

Rather as we face, in our time, each successive challenge to America’s ideals, may we always find new inspiration in the proud pageant of those countless marching thousands who kept faith with the spirit of fort Ligonier and gave to us our land, our nation, our freedom.
Thank you very much.

NOTE: The President spoke at 3:06 p.m. His opening words referred to Glenn F. Cook, Chairman of the Distinguished Guest Committee of the Bicentennial Association, Maj. Gen. Richard J. Mellon, and Edward Martin, U. S. Senator from Pennsylvania.

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Chicago: Dwight D. Eisenhower, "269 Address at the Fort Ligonier Bicentennial Celebration, Ligonier, Pennsylvania.," Public Papers of Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1958 in Federal Register Division. National Archives and Records Service, Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States, Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1958 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1956-), P.870 Original Sources, accessed September 19, 2020, http://originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=V5MCPUQN5B381QW&H=1.

MLA: Eisenhower, Dwight D. "269 Address at the Fort Ligonier Bicentennial Celebration, Ligonier, Pennsylvania." Public Papers of Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1958, in Federal Register Division. National Archives and Records Service, Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States, Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1958 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1956-), P.870, Original Sources. 19 Sep. 2020. originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=V5MCPUQN5B381QW&H=1.

Harvard: Eisenhower, DD, '269 Address at the Fort Ligonier Bicentennial Celebration, Ligonier, Pennsylvania.' in Public Papers of Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1958. cited in , Federal Register Division. National Archives and Records Service, Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States, Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1958 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1956-), P.870. Original Sources, retrieved 19 September 2020, from http://originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=V5MCPUQN5B381QW&H=1.