Text of address by Billy Graham at the Honor America Day religious service held in Washington July 4, 1970

The Bible says in First Peter 2:17: “Honor all men. Fear God. Honor the king.” And the king referred to was the Roman emperor. Since our nation is a republic and not a monarchy, this Scripture could read, “Honor the nation.”

Today, in the capital of the United States, thousands of us have come together to honor America on her 194th birthday.

We stand here today within the shadow of three great monuments.

That great shaft over there honors George Washington, who led the revolution that obtained our freedom.

Not far away is the memorial to Thomas Jefferson, father of the Declaration of Independence, which proclaimed the rights of free men and began the greatest experiment in freedom the world has ever known.

Behind us is the memorial honoring Abraham Lincoln, who helped preserve the unity of this country by his courage, faith, and perseverance—and who gave black men hope that they, too, would become first-class citizens.

We can listen to no better voices than these men who gave us the dream that has become America. These men represent thousands who worked, prayed, suffered, and died to give us this nation.

We are not here today only to honor America; we are come as citizens to renew our dedication and allegiance to the principles and institutions that made her great. Lately our institutions have been under attack: the Supreme Court, the Congress, the presidency, the flag, the home, the educational system, and even the church—but we are here to say with loud voices that in spite of their faults and failures we believe in these institutions!

Let the world know today that the vast majority of us still proudly sing: “My country, ’tis ...

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