Archive for the ‘Words of Wisdom’ Category

President Obama’s Inaugural Address - History in the Making

Tuesday, January 20th, 2009

President Obama's Inaugural Address - Part 1

President Obama's Inaugural Address - Part 2

My fellow citizens:

I stand here today humbled by the task before us, grateful for the trust you have bestowed, mindful of the sacrifices borne by our ancestors.  I thank President Bush for his service to our nation, as well as the generosity and cooperation he has shown throughout this transition.

Forty-four Americans have now taken the presidential oath.  The words have been spoken during rising tides of prosperity and the still waters of peace.  Yet, every so often the oath is taken amidst gathering clouds and raging storms.  At these moments, America has carried on not simply because of the skill or vision of those in high office, but because We the People have remained faithful to the ideals of our forbearers, and true to our founding documents.

So it has been.  So it must be with this generation of Americans.

That we are in the midst of crisis is now well understood.  Our nation is at war, against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred.  Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some, but also our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age.  Homes have been lost; jobs shed; businesses shuttered.  Our health care is too costly; our schools fail too many; and each day brings further evidence that the ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries and threaten our planet.

These are the indicators of crisis, subject to data and statistics.  Less measurable but no less profound is a sapping of confidence across our land - a nagging fear that America’s decline is inevitable, and that the next generation must lower its sights.

Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real.  They are serious and they are many.  They will not be met easily or in a short span of time.  But know this, America -  they will be met.

On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord.

On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn out dogmas, that for far too long have strangled our politics. (more…)

Words of Wisdom - Yes We Can! (Obama Victory Speech)

Tuesday, January 20th, 2009

President-Elect Obama with his Family on Election Night - Photo by Time

President-Elect Obama with his Family on Election Night - Photo by Time

Remarks of President-Elect Barack Obama-as prepared for delivery
Election Night
Tuesday, November 4th, 2008
Chicago, Illinois

If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible; who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time; who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer.

It’s the answer told by lines that stretched around schools and churches in numbers this nation has never seen; by people who waited three hours and four hours, many for the very first time in their lives, because they believed that this time must be different; that their voice could be that difference.

It’s the answer spoken by young and old, rich and poor, Democrat and Republican, black, white, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, disabled and not disabled - Americans who sent a message to the world that we have never been a collection of Red States and Blue States: we are, and always will be, the United States of America.

It’s the answer that led those who have been told for so long by so many to be cynical, and fearful, and doubtful of what we can achieve to put their hands on the arc of history and bend it once more toward the hope of a better day.

It’s been a long time coming, but tonight, because of what we did on this day, in this election, at this defining moment, change has come to America. (more…)

Words of Wisdom - I Have a Dream

Monday, January 19th, 2009

I Have a Dream Speech

Full text (transcribed from audio)

I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.

Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity.

But one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languished in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. And so we’ve come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.

In a sense we’ve come to our nation’s capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the “unalienable Rights” of “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note, insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked “insufficient funds.”

But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. And so, we’ve come to cash this check, a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice. (more…)

Words of Wisdom from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Thursday, January 15th, 2009

Martin Luther King, Jr. with family after hearing that he won the Noble Peace Prize.

Two nights ago, I began reading the words of Martin Luther King, Jr. to my girls at bedtime. This is one quote–taken from ‘The Drum Major Instinct’ speech–that stood out to me, especially as we prepare to welcome in our new president, our first African-American president. It is up to all of us to help make the world a better place. We each have unique gifts that we can use to help others in need.  Please consider volunteering with your family and make a real difference in your community. What a great quality to teach our children about–service to others.

“… And this morning, the thing that I like about it: by giving that definition of greatness, it means that everybody can be great, because everybody can serve.

You don’t have to have a college degree to serve.

You don’t have to make your subject and your verb agree to serve.

You don’t have to know about Plato and Aristotle to serve.

You don’t have to know Einstein’s theory of relativity to serve.

You don’t have to know the second theory of thermodynamics in physics to serve.

You only need a heart full of grace, a soul generated by love. And you can be that servant.”

- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Words of Wisdom from William Arthur Ward

Sunday, January 4th, 2009

“Another fresh new year is here . . .
Another year to live!
To banish worry, doubt, and fear,
To love and laugh and give!

This bright new year is given me
To live each day with zest . . .
To daily grow and try to be
My highest and my best!

I have the opportunity
Once more to right some wrongs,
To pray for peace, to plant a tree,
And sing more joyful songs!”

- William Arthur Ward

Words of Wisdom from Sydney Smith

Friday, January 2nd, 2009

“Resolve to make at least one person happy every day, and then in ten years you may have made three thousand, six hundred and fifty persons happy, or brightened a small town by your contribution to the fund of general enjoyment.”

- Sydney Smith

Words of Wisdom from Edith Lovejoy Pierce

Thursday, January 1st, 2009

“We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called “Opportunity” and its first chapter is New Year’s Day.”

- Edith Lovejoy Pierce

Words of Wisdom from Dr. Seuss

Monday, December 8th, 2008

… It started in low, then it started to grow

But this, this sound wasn’t sad. What, this sound sounded glad

Every Who down in Who-ville, the tall and the small, was singing without any presents at all

He hadn’t stopped Christmas from coming, it came. Somehow or other, it came just the same…

… He paused, and the Grinch put a hand to his ear

And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so?

It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags.

And he puzzled and puzzled ’till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before.

What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.

Well, what happened then, well in Who-ville they say,

that the Grinch’s small heart grew three sizes that day…

- From How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss

Words of Wisdom from Madeleine L’Engle

Saturday, November 15th, 2008

“Human beings are born with a great deal of creativity, and by the age of twelve, we’ve lost most of it. The world just slams it out of us. Our teachers and parents tell us that what comes from our imagination isn’t true; it’s just “imaginary.” I think that what’s imaginary is truer than what’s “real.” Adults prefer facts, because facts are limited. Like truth, imagination is unlimited, so many people are afraid of it.”
—Madeleine L’Engle

Words of Wisdom from Stacia Tauscher

Friday, October 10th, 2008

”We worry about what a child will be tomorrow, yet we forget that he is someone today.” — Stacia Tauscher