Guarding Democracy

By F. A. Silcox, Chief
December, 1939


We are soon on the eve of another Christmas. Another New Year will soon be here. And although these are days when armies march as dictators command, America stands firm for democracy.

It is the job of everyone of us to help maintain that stand.

As a Nation we draw civic and spiritual guidance from the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. For most material things on which our strength is based we turn to the earth, its minerals, its soils and waters, and to the plant and animal they yield.

As members of the Forest Service we therefore rededicate our efforts to securing wise use of our natural resources. For, as sources of raw materials, of necessities of life, and of employment and income, these resources are fundamental to national defense against military aggression and against the undermining of economic and social structures within our borders.

But abuse and depletion of natural resources are not the only threats to democracy as we know it. Freedom must also be guarded; freedom to seek the truth, and courage to apply it without prejudice or rancor through established institutions in defense of human rights.

You and I are members of an organization permeated by the spirit of public service. Foresters, we are also citizens of democracy. I am confident, therefore, that our efforts and our lives are also rededicated to preservation of tolerance, kindness, and those ideals that guided our forebears when, seeking blessed sanctuary, they founded the United States of America.

This letter was first published in the Service Bulletin, December 1939. A copy of the page is located in the Ferdinand A. Silcox biography files of the U. S. Forest Service Headquarters History Collection.