One year into America's third century, the nation needs to remember that the building of freedom can never be finished, because freedom is "a living thing that each generation must create anew," President Carter says.
That message is contained in a special Fourth of July statement by the President. It reads:
"The Fourth of July is Americans' traditional day of celebration, a chance to remind ourselves of the heritage we share with each other and with the men of great spirit and wise vision who brought our nation into being 201 years ago today.
"But July 4 should also be a day of reflection. Freedom, or the ideal which created our nation and continues to give it meaning throughout the world, has flourished in human history far more seldom than we would like to believe.
"The work of freedom can never be finished, for freedom is not a temple which is completed when the last stone is in place, but a living thing that each generation must create anew.
"In 1977 we must face this task - for ourselves and for the world - with a renewed sense of optimism, confidence in the strength of our own beliefs and in the signs that other nations share them."
Before he left Friday afternoon for a holiday weekend with his family at Camp David, Carter also said he thinks the country "has substantially overcome the embarrassments of Watergate, Vietnam, the CIA revelations. I think we have a good optimistic attitude toward the future."
And, he said, he thinks Congress has made "superb progress on major issues." He said he is "very proud" of its accomplishments and hopes it will sustain his Thursday decision to stop further production of the B-1 supersonic bomber.
He is expected back in Washington Monday evening in time to watch the fireworks display on the Washington Monument grounds from the Truman balcony at the White House.