Calvin Coolidge Says, April 4, 1931

Date: April 4, 1931

Location: Northampton, MA

(Original document available here)

To those who recall how important the United States Army appeared on the 6th of April, 1917, this anniversary will seem a fitting time for the nation to give some thought to its military establishment. Human nature takes things for granted that have long existed. We forget that the constant effort and care of some one makes them so. In spite of all our other precautions, the peace we enjoy still has in it a large element of preparation for national defense. No self-respecting people desiring to live under a reign of law at home and abroad can afford to neglect their army.

Public security depends to a large extent on the knowledge that the government has power to enforce its decrees.

Our own Army is not merely an instrument of war. It serves in peace. The Engineering Corps built the Panama Canal and supervises Mississippi flood control and river and harbor improvement. The Medical Corps overcame the scourge of yellow fever. For many years the War Department administered our insular possessions. The people can look on the past and present of their Army, its distinguished soldiers and its great accomplishments, with satisfaction and confidence. We have an Army that is not militaristic.

Citation: Calvin Coolidge Says: Dispatches Written by Former-President Coolidge and Syndicated to Newspapers in 1930-1931 (Calvin Coolidge Memorial Foundation)

The Coolidge Foundation gratefully acknowledges the volunteer efforts of Greg Harkenrider who prepared this document for digital publication.

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