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Happiness, enlarged: Washington on our debt to veterans

November 11. 2012 7:15PM

Editor's note: This exerpt of George Washington's farewell address to the Continental Army is reprinted as a Veterans Day reminder of the thanks we owe to the services of so many long forgotten.

It is universally acknowledged that the enlarged prospect of happiness, opened by the confirmation of our independence and sovereignty, almost exceeds the power of description. And shall not the brave men who have contributed so essentially to these inestimable acquisitions, retiring victorious from the field of war, to the field of agriculture, participate in all the blessings which have been obtained?

In such a republic, who will exclude them from the rights of citizens and the fruits of their labours? In such a country so happily circumstanced the pursuits of commerce and the cultivation of the soil, will unfold to industry the certain road to competence.

To those hardy soldiers, who are actuated by the spirit of adventure, the fisheries will afford ample and profitable employment, and the extensive and fertile regions of the West will yield a most happy asylum to those, who, fond of domestic enjoyment are seeking for personal independence.

Nor is it possible to conceive that any one of the United States will prefer a national bankrupcy and a dissolution of the Union, to a compliance with the requisitions of Congress and the payment of its just debts - so that the officers and soldiers may expect considerable assistance in recommencing their civil occupations from the sums due to them from the public, which must and will most inevitably be paid.

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