N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z #

George M. Cohan: And then came your wire. I was really worried. Well, here I am goin' on like Tennyson's Brook giving you the story of my life. I'm sorry. I didn't mean to do that. You should have stopped me.
President: Why, I wanted to hear the story of your life. It has a direct bearing on my sending for you. Do you know what this is?
George M. Cohan: The Congressional Medal of Honor.
President: Let's see what the inscription says: 'To George M. Cohan, for his contribution to the American spirit. Over There and Grand Old Flag Presented by Act of Congress.' I congratulate you, Mr. Cohan. [He hands the medal to George] I understand you're the first person of your profession to receive this honor. You should be very proud.
George M. Cohan: Oh, I am proud. In fact, I'm flabbergasted. First time in my life, I'm speechless. Are you sure there isn't some mistake?
President: Quite sure.
George M. Cohan: [modestly] But this medal is for people who've given their lives to their country or done something big. I'm just a song and dance man. Everybody knows that.
President: A man may give his life to his country in many different ways, Mr. Cohan. And quite often he isn't the best judge of how much he has given. Your songs were a symbol of the American spirit. Over There was just as powerful a weapon as any cannon, as any battleship we had in the First World War. Today, we're all soldiers, we're all on the front. We need more songs to express America. I know you and your comrades will give them to us.
George M. Cohan: Mr. President, I've just begun to earn this medal. It's quite a thing.
President: Well, it's the best material we could find, what with priorities and all -
George M. Cohan: Goodbye, sir. [They shake hands] And I want you to know that I'm not the only one that's grateful. My mother thanks you, my father thanks you, my sister thanks you, and I assure you, I thank you. And, uh, I wouldn't worry about this country if I were you. We've got this thing licked. Where else in the world today could a plain guy like me come in and talk things over with the head man?
President: Well, that's about as good a definition of America as any I've ever heard. Good-bye, Mr. Cohan, and good luck.
George M. Cohan: Good-bye sir, and good luck to you.

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