POINT LOOKOUT, Mo. -- The Honorable Newt Gingrich was the guest speaker for the 2016 Fall Forum Convocation Tuesday College of the Ozarks.
Gingrich’s talk was the culmination of the two-day Citizenship Forum.
The Bobcat Company Army ROTC provided the Presentation of Colors, followed by the Pledge of Allegiance and invocation. Opening remarks were given by President Jerry C. Davis.
A special musical presentation, “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” was met with a standing ovation by the crowd of more than 2,500 people in the Howell W. Keeter Gymnasium. The piece was performed by the College of the Ozarks combined choirs, under the direction of Dr. John Cornish, and the concert band, under the direction of Dr. Kevin Powers.
Gingrich has visited the College in the past, serving as a convocation speaker in April 2009. He often cites the example of the work college on national television news programs.
“You talk about Hard Work U., which I love, and I do talk about this college all the time,” Gingrich said. “It is, in my judgement, one of the great models for America’s future, and if we’re going to win the culture war, it will be won here.”
His talk was titled, “A Republic, If You Can Keep It.” The framework for the speech was based on the words of Benjamin Franklin, during the founding days of the country. The theme was freedom.
“Freedom is hard,” Gingrich said. “Our national anthem ends the opening stanza ‘land of the free, home of the brave.’ If you aren’t the home of the brave, you won’t be the land of the free.”
He expounded on the topic, stating that the number one goal of the American constitution is to avoid dictatorship.
“All of the Founding Fathers knew freedom was difficult to sustain,” he said. “A country can only remain free if its people remain virtuous.”
Gingrich concluded his remarks with inspirational thoughts for the crowd.
“This isn’t about whether Hilary Clinton is going to save America or Donald Trump is going to save America. This is about you,” Gingrich said. “Each of you has in you a spark from God to be the best version of yourself that you can be. Whatever you want to be.”
The evening concluded with the presentation of gifts to Gingrich from College of the Ozarks students Hayley DePriest, junior public relations major, and Lacy Smith, junior family studies major.