In 1966, Tex Ritter released “Sweet Land Of liberty”. Included on the album is “A Letter To My Sons”, written by Tex to his sons Tommy and John Ritter.
Now that you are both away at school preparing yourselves for your life’s work remember I always want you to make your own decissions, however, I thought I might jot down a few notes you might want to consider.
When the Constitutional Convention was finally adjourned in Philidelphia, Benjamin Franklin’s first remark when he left the hall was spoken to a small group of bystanders. He said, “We have given you a Republic, see if you can hold it.”
Tom, within a few years you will be of voting age. You, John, a couple of years later. Study your political candidates, study the issues, vote for those who believe in the wisdom of the framers of our Constitution.
Within a decade or so the torch will be passed to your generation, take a firm grip and hold it high. If we of this generation have veered from the course, if we have been inclined to consider the Constitution an outmoded instrument of government, change the course. Head it back to where it belongs and avoid the troublesome waters. It was not socialism that made this country the greatest nation in history, it was not communism, it was what Franklin said it was back there in 1787 — a good old-fashioned capitalistic republic. It’s up to your generation to keep it that way.
As young boys you traveled over many parts of our country with mom and me. We tried to instill in you not only love of and pride in your country, but to appreciate the beauty of America — I trust you will never lose it. When you travel, look for that beauty, it’s there someplace. Someone might say, “Well yes, in the New England woods in the fall, Yellowstone, The Grand Canyon, the Great Smokies. But what about a Kansas wheat field? What’s so beautiful about that?” My answer, “It’s there my friend. If you doubt me, ask the farmer who owns it. Looks kinda pretty to him.” There is beauty in all America, if you look for it long enough you’ll find it.
As you journey throughout your college years and throughout your life take a tip from president Truman, “Become familar with the history of your country. If you know the story of America you will understand and appreciate the glory of America.” And with president Kennedy, “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country” the United States of America, this powerful land, this beautiful land, this Republic, this sweet land, this sweet land of liberty.