Justice Antonin Scalia at Gettysburg

20 11 2013

ScaliaYesterday, as I watched via live streaming video and the commemoration of the sesquicentennial of the Gettysburg Address at Gettysburg National Cemetery drew to a close, it struck me that I was witnessing something special. No, not the roll of usual suspects who delivered speeches that were, well, nice. Not memorable, but nice. Everything rolled along. But then, the Director of United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, Alejandro Mayorkas, took the podium to recognize sixteen immigrants who would become citizens as part of the ceremony. Each candidate citizen rose by country, and then Mr. Mayorkas introduced the official who was to administer the oath, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. And I knew it as I heard it – Scalia’s apparently extemporaneous words were capturing the spirit of Abraham Lincoln’s famous little speech better than had anyone else that day. Here’s the text:

Before I administer the oath, I want to say a few words of welcome to the new citizens. What makes us Americans, what unites us, is quite different from that which unites other countries.

There’s a word, ‘unAmerican.’ We used to have a House unAmerican Activities Committee. There’s no equivalent word in foreign languages. It would mean nothing in French political discourse to refer to something as unFrench, or in German political discourse to refer to something as unGerman. It is only Americans, we Americans, who identify ourselves not by our blood or by our color, or by our race or by where we were born, but rather by our fidelity to certain political principles.

That’s very strange. It’s unique in human history, I believe.

We are, as you heard from the Director a nation of immigrants, who have come here mostly for two reasons. First, for freedom. From the pilgrims in the 17th century to the Cubans and the North Koreans in the 20th and 21st centuries.

And that freedom, of course, is not free, as the dead who rest buried here can demonstrate. The last line of our ‘Star Spangled Banner’ is, ‘the land of the free and the home of the brave.’ The two go together. Freedom is for the brave.

The second reason they came, these immigrants, was for opportunity. My father, who was the most patriotic man I ever knew, used to say that in the old country, if your father was a shoemaker, you would be a shoemaker. And in America, you could be whatever you were willing to work hard enough to be and had the talent to be.

And his son ended up on the Supreme Court.

My Grandmother expected me to be President; I didn’t quite make that. But it was possible. It is possible in America.

So welcome, my soon-to-be fellow citizens, to the nation of Americans. May America bring you all that you expect from it. And may you give it all that it expects from you.

Thanks to Interpreting the Civil War for the transcript.





First Bull Run Sesqui Video

18 10 2011

NPS video promo Trial By Fire recaps sesqui events.

See more here.





Bull Run Sesqui on the Web

25 07 2011

Over the past week or so I’ve been sharing on Facebook and retweeting on Twitter various articles, images, and videos relating to the Battle of Bull Run (Manassas) that have swamped the web as the 150th anniversary of the battle approached and was commemorated. There were a bunch of them. Here are links to a few of the more significant items (I’ll add to this any that pop up afterwards, too). There are some worthy of posting to the resources section, and as I check them out and get any necessary permissions I will do so. Get comfortable, this will take a while. If I missed anything big, let me know!

Update 8/3/2011: I noticed I had fouled up a few of these links. I think they’re fixed now, so check them out again if you couldn’t get through.

Good Battle Stuff

Miscellaneous

Opinion

Sesqui Events

Videos





Civil War Legacy Project – Fairfax County

13 06 2011

The good folks at Visit Fairfax have passed along the following info regarding the Civil War Legacy Project:

Civil War 150 Legacy Project Comes to Fairfax County
Statewide Initiative Strives to Digitize Civil War Era Documents Still in Private Hands
During Fairfax Appointments on June 24th & 25th

Fairfax County, VA – June 13, 2011 – Attention all Civil War-era document holders! If you or your family has manuscript materials created between 1859-1867 that reflect social, political, military, business and religious life in Virginia during the Civil War and early Reconstruction, the Library of Virginia and the Virginia Sesquicentennial of the American Civil War Commission (aka, “the Commission”) needs your help.

The two have partnered for the Civil War 150 Legacy Project: Document Digitization and Access, which is holding its first event in Fairfax at the City of Fairfax Regional Library (10360 North Street, Fairfax) on June 24th and 25th.

The statewide Legacy Project is a multi-year initiative in search of documents still held by private owners with the goal of creating an online collection of rare Civil War documents and materials to share with the world. Citizens are encouraged to bring original, family heirloom documents and materials to events around the state for scanning and inclusion in the Project’s collection.

Civil War 150 Legacy Project staff members will be on site at the City of Fairfax Regional Library from 10 AM through 6 PM on Friday, and 10 AM to 5 PM on Saturday to scan materials. Appointments are required, although a limited number of walk-ins will be accommodated, as the schedule allows. The duration of appointments depend on the type and quantity of materials, and can range from 5 to 45 minutes per item.

Scanned materials from the Project will be made available online via the Library of Virginia website (www.lva.virginia.gov), as well as the Commission’s website (www.virginiacivilwar.org).

Please contact Linda Gifford at 703-324-8324 or email her at Linda.Gifford@fairfaxcounty.gov to schedule an appointment.

This event is co-sponsored by the Fairfax County and City of Fairfax Sesquicentennial Committees. For more information on the Sesquicentennial commemoration events and special offerings in Fairfax County and Virginia, respectively, please visit www.fxva.com/150 or www.virginiacivilwar.org.

Media contact for Visit Fairfax Civil War related questions or inquiries:

Patrick Lennon, Destination Marketing Manager, Visit Fairfax
Ph: (703) 752-9504; plennon@fxva.com

Melissa Gold, White+Partners PR for Visit Fairfax
Ph: (703) 599-1643; melissag@whiteandpartnerspr.com





Because folks keep asking…

8 06 2011

…I have no plans to be at Manassas National Battlefield Park for the anniversary. Friend Robert Moore has tentatively agreed to provide a guest post on the happenings there.





City to Focus on Pieces of War at Camp Manassas

23 05 2011

Check it out here.





Manassas Sesqui in the News

13 05 2011

Check out this WaPo article on Manassas and the sesquicentennial. Nice photo gallery.








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