The chaos of 2023 reminds Glenn a lot of the chaos of the 1970s: economic turmoil, despair, an energy crisis, rampant crime. In the 70s, many people stopped believing in America. But in 1978, Glenn heard something that he believes still rings true: Aaron Copland's "Lincoln Portrait," featuring Henry Fonda. After re-listening to it, Glenn used it as a model and rewrote the speech in his own words for our time.
Below is a rush transcript that may contain errors
GLENN: Sometimes, all the time, when you listen to this program. It can kick you to the curb.
It can just kick you in the head, repeatedly, and repeatedly. And you feel like everything is out of control.
Let me start with something that will give you perspective.
In 1978, at a time that was much like this one. See if this sounds family. The country was in shambles. Stagflation. Despair.
Energy crisis. Rampant crime. People were hopeless. Disillusioned. They stopped believing in America. They stopped believing that things will get better.
The greatest city as was declared in the early 1960s. Detroit had fallen from its perch.
The car industry, once the greatest in the world, was in shambles.
America was now being clobbered by a country in the Far East, who were coming here buying our land and our landmarks.
Americans felt America was over.
Does that sound familiar at all?
So at that time, 1978, one of the greatest American composers, Aaron Copland, joined with Henry Fonda, just to remind Americans of who they were, where they came from.
Aaron Copland wrote -- he's just written some of the greatest American music of all time. He had the Philharmonic, playing all of his beautiful music.
And Henry Fonda took to the stage, and spoke. He spoke of the dark times, and the hope of Abraham Lincoln. I listened to that, over the last few days.
And the feeling of 1978, because I remember hearing that, when I was a kid.
And the feeling of that time and the words that he was speaking, rang true to me. I don't have the license to be able to play the Aaron Copland thing with Henry Fonda. But you should look it up and listen to it.
Now, I don't have Aaron Copland backing me up, and I don't have Henry Fonda's voice or credibility. But I do have mine. And I do have my thoughts. And I do know history.
So I took his speech, as a model. And I wrote it anew.
Now, his whole story of Lincoln, but I chose the words of three presidents and one average citizen to tell the story of you and me.
And all of us who are lucky enough, to dare call ourselves American.
In the early dawn of our nation, we stood at freedom's threshold.
That is what he said. That is what George Washington said.
Citizens of a young nation, behold, our path of freedom.
We in this fledgling republic, carry the weight of a new world on you're shoulders.
Our actions, humble or grand, will forge a legacy beyond you're lifetimes. The responsibility of freedom.
The duty of honor. These are the burdens that we bear, for future generations.
Let the standard of the wise, the honest, guide us under the watchful end of providence, he said.
This is what George Washington said. In times of peace and uncertainty, our resolve must never falter.
The sacred fire of liberty, entrusted to the American people, demands our vigilance. In this great experiment of government, our actions will echo through the ages.
Citizens of a young nation, behold the path of freedom.
That is what he said. He was born in Virginia, land of rolling hills and boundless skies.
And this is what he said. This is what George Washington said.
Let us raise that standard to which the wise and the honest can repair. The event is in the hand of God.
Duty, honor, country, these are not mere words. They are the foundations of a life well-lived.
In stature and in spirit, he stood tall. And this is what he said: The preservation of the sacred fire of liberty and the destination of the -- the destiny of the Republican model of government, are entrusted to the hands of the American people. If we falter, and lose our freedoms, it will only be because we destroyed ourselves.
A leader, a reluctant general, a president, a man of deep honor and integrity. A father of a country. George Washington was a man of few, but powerful words. But when he spoke of duty and honor, this is what he said.
He said, labor to keep alive in your breast that little spark of celestial fire called conscience.
George Washington, the first president of these United States forever etched in the annals of history.
In the winter at valley forge, this is what he said. He said, perseverance and spirit have done wonders in all ages.
Let us therefore, rely on the goodness of our cause. And the aid of the supreme being.
In whose hands victory is. To animate and encourage us, to great and noble actions.
Later, admits the turmoil to end an ancient evil, try to right the nation's wrongs. A voice rose again.
A beacon of hope, amidst the sea of despair. And this is what he said: This is what Abraham Lincoln said.
Fondly do we hope. Fervently do we pray. That this mighty scourge may speedily pass away.
Yet, if God wills that it continue until all of the wealth piled by the bondsmen 250 years of unrequited toil, shall be sunk, until every drop of blood drawn with the lash, shall be paid by another drawn with the sword.
As it was said 3,000 years ago, still it must be said. The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.
He said, with malice toward none, with charity for all. With firmness, in the right as God gives us, the right to see it.
Let us strive, to finish the work we're in, and bind the nation's wounds. The storm passed. But our nation's wounds were deep.
This time, it took a king to pull us back together. Not like the kings of old, who claimed God gave them the right to rule and be master over men.
This king, quietly, meekly, peacefully, became the servant of God and man.
Martin Luther King, who told us to love and forgive, and live up to our own ideals. To live as one. Not seeing the color of skin.
Almost a century after that great and bloody war, evil in the heart of man, dared showed its face again.
And this king joined Abraham Lincoln, as he too was crowned in glory as a martyr.
But this is what he said: He said, when the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note, to which every American was to fall heir.
This note was a promise that all men, yes. Black as well as white men, would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. And it is obvious today, that America has defaulted on this promissory note, in so far as her citizens of color are concerned.
But we refused to believe that the bank of justice is abrupt.
We refused to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation.
And so we come to cash this check, a check that will give us upon demand, the riches of freedom, the security of justice.
This is what he said. This is what Martin Luther King said.
I have a dream today. That all men can live together, live as one. And not be judged by the color of his skin. But by the content of his character.
In the quest for freedom, we stand as one. That is what he said.
That is what Ronald Reagan said. In the quest for freedom, we stand as one. Across the globe, wherever tyranny cast its shadow, here or abroad. It is the duty of every American to be a beacon of hope.
Our nation conceived in liberty, carries the torch that enlightens the world. And in the face of oppression, we shall not waver.
Our resolve is strength. Our unity, our shield.
Born in Illinois, who like Washington, Lincoln, and MLK, never lost his God-given optimism.
Reagan had found it in his upbringing. And he too dreamt of a world unchained.
And this is what he said. This is what Ronald Reagan said.
Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction.
We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for. It didn't be protected.
And then handed on for them to do the same. Standing firm, he looked beyond the horizon, and this is what he said.
He said, evil is powerless. If the good are unafraid.
We are a nation, that has a government, not the other way around.
This is what makes us special among the nations of earth.
Ronald Reagan, once a Democrat, then a Republican.
An American Financing president and leader. A man who saw America not just as a country, but as an ideal.
But when he spoke of Americans duty, this is what he said.
He said, we must always remember, we must always be prepared.
So we may always be free.
Our cause is noble. And it is the cause of mankind.
In his words at the Brandenburg Gate, this is what he said. Let us be a force for good. A force for freedom. A force that fights for peace and justice, in a world too often scarred by the opposite.
And as the dream of freedom endures, its guardians emerge in new forms. This is what Ronald Reagan said. In the quest for freedom, we unite against darkness. The darkness of tyranny.
Our nation, a beacon of hope, stands resilient against the bullies of the world.
We inherit not just a land. But a legacy of freedom. That we must defend with unwavering courage.
He said, let us be unafraid in the face of evil. Our unity is our strength. And in that strength, lies the power to shape a world that cherishes freedom and justice. Our destiny is not predetermined. It is only crafted by our own hands, our hearts, and our unwavering spirit.
And the symphony of our nation's history, these voices blend into a single enduring Melody. From the foundations laid by the vision of Washington to the unyielding resolve championed by Reagan, and the enduring hope of justice. That was articulated by Lincoln. Our journey is one of continuous striving.
We as a people have weathered the storms of change, and stood as a pillar against the tides of oppression.
Together, these voices echo. Our legacy is not merely in the battles won. But in the unrelenting pursuit of a world where freedom reigns supreme.
The spirit of America, resilient. Bold. Inspires us to uphold the ideals of democracy and humanity.
So in unity, we must affirm. As heirs to this great legacy.
We must carry forward the torch of liberty. Let us here and abroad be the keepers of this flame. A light that guides the world, toward a brighter, more just future.
For in unity. In our courage. In our commitment to the ideals that have always defined us. We will find strength to build a world where freedom, justice, and hope flourish for all.