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A new birth of freedom

The title phrase is more than the theme of today’s luncheon on President Barack Obama‘s Inauguration Day. The phrase may represent the hope of the 2 million people in the record crowd who attended the inauguration in person, and of many more from around the world.

A painting of Yosemite Valley, by Thomas Hill, was on loan for display behind the head table at the luncheon. A land grant signed by Abraham Lincoln preserved the land, so that visitors from all over the world can visit the valley today.

I was fortunate enough to have no assignment today, and I was able to view the historic events in Washington, D.C. Sometimes chance favors you.

A sentence from President Obama’s Inaugural Address caught my attention:

“As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals.”

I have said that “safety” and “convenience” are the two excuses most often given today for eroding our Rights and liberties. (Note added January 21, 2009: As the lyrics go – “… I’ll get on my knees and pray, we don’t get fooled again.” – The Who, “Won’t Get Fooled Again“)

The Obama presidency appears to be, at this early date, one of inclusion, rather than exclusion. May the new government lead all Americans forward with (George Washington‘s phrase) “hope and virtue.”

No, the phrase “a new birth of freedom” is not only the theme for an inaugural luncheon. It is also a phrase from the end of Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, delivered on a battlefield, at a place my parents later took me as a boy:

“. . . that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom. . . and that government of the people. . .by the people. . .for the people. . . shall not perish from the earth.”

-Bill at Cheshire Cat Photo™

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