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"Yet we should approach this new century with humility. Remember that the 20th century opened with brimming optimism, too. A New York Times editorial on Dec. 31, 1899, hailed the 19th century for its economic and scientific advances and predicted that the 20th would be even better. The next day, Jan. 1, 1900, a Times headline proclaimed 'The United States the Envy of the World.' But some rude surprises were just ahead. Historian John Keegan has said that the 20th century can be written through the biographies of six men: Lenin, Stalin, Hitler, Mao, Churchill, and Franklin Roosevelt. The first four were tyrants who dimmed the lamps of freedom and plunged the world into the bloodiest conflicts in all of human history. Those two wars, along with a crushing depression, darkened man's outlook for years thereafter. As Americans we owe an extraordinary debt to those generations who have brought us to the edge of a new promised land. Their sacrifices not only brought us a good life, but through war and hard times, kept those values alive. Our Judeo-Christian values are now the greatest gift we can pass on to the 21st century."

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