Springfield, Ills. July 22, 1860
My dear George
I have scarcely felt greater pain in my life than on learning yesterday from Bob's letter, that you failed to enter Harvard University. And yet there is very little in it, if you will allow no feeling of discouragement to seize, and prey upon you. It is a certain truth, that you can enter, and graduate in, Harvard University; and having made the attempt, you must succeed in it. "Must" is the word. I know not how to aid you, save in the assurance of one of mature age, and much severe experience, that you can not fail, if you resolutely determine, that you will not. The President of the institution, can scarcely be other than a kind man; and doubtless he would grant you an interview, and point out the readiest way to remove, or overcome, the obstacles which have thwarted you. In your temporary failure there is no evidence that you may not yet be a better scholar, and a more successful man in the great struggle of life, than many others, who have entered college more easily.
Again I say let no feeling of discouragement prey upon you, and in the end you are sure to succeed.
With more than a common interest I subscribe myself Very truly your friend,
Of course, the most famous of Lincoln's speeches is the Gettysburg Address. But, for this occasion, I thought this letter he wrote a friend who had failed to get into college really shows the compassion of Lincoln. If the 2nd graders we took that day could just understand the wisdom in his words in this letter...that those who succeed are not always the smartest, wealthiest, or the ones with the easiest road...but those who simply are determined not to be discouraged.
FDR, addressing Congress January 6, 1941..."In the future days which we seek to make secure, we look forward to a world founded upon four essential human freedoms. The first is freedom of speech and expression --everywhere in the world. The second is freedom of every person to worship God in his own way-- everywhere in the world. The third is freedom from want, which, translated into world terms, means economic understandings which will secure to every nation a healthy peacetime life for its inhabitants--everywhere in the world. The fourth is freedom from fear, which, translated into world terms, means a world-wide reduction of armaments to such a point and in such a thorough fashion that no nation will be in a position to commit an act of physical aggression against any neighbor --anywhere in the world."
I think the above picture shows it best. There's a youngster, smack dab in the middle of the bronze sculpture depicting sadness, hunger, and despair through the bread lines...and he's happy...picture perfect....just like a Norman Rockwell painting.