Flashback: Charlton Heston 'From My Cold Dead Hands' - Speech on Patriotism, Freedom and Liberty

Every time our country stands in the path of danger, an instinct seems to summon her finest first -- those who truly understand her.

When freedom shivers in the cold shadow of true peril, it's always the patriots who first hear the call.

When loss of liberty is looming, as it is now, the siren sounds first in the hearts of freedom's vanguard. The smoke in the air of our Concord bridges and Pearl Harbors is always smelled first by the farmers, who come from their simple homes to find the fire, and fight, because they know that sacred stuff resides in that wooden stock and blued steel -- something that gives the most common man the most uncommon of freedoms.

When ordinary hands can possess such an extraordinary instrument, that symbolizes the full measure of human dignity and liberty. That's why those five words issue an irresistible call to us all, and we muster. So -- so, as, ah, we set out this year to defeat the divisive forces that would take freedom away, I want to say those fighting words for everyone within the sound of my voice to hear and to heed -- and especially for you, Mister Gore: From my cold dead hands!

Charlton Heston's closing remarks at the 2000 NRA annual meeting in Charlotte North Carolina -- "From MY Cold Dead Hands" speech.