Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Reading History to Middle School

Today, on the morning of the Presidential Inauguration, I read to our Middle School students, as I often have occasion to do. On this memorable morning, I chose to read excerpts from President John F. Kennedy's 13 minute January 20, 1961 inauguration speech to let students make comparisons to the speech that they would hear at lunch by President Barack Obama.

I was their age when I heard President Kennedy's speech, and I can distinctly remember the same hopes for change that now fill their adolescent lives. Along with "And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country." our 35th President prophetically stated in reference to other countries "But we shall always hope to find them strongly supporting their own freedom—and to remember that, in the past, those who foolishly sought power by riding the back of the tiger ended up inside."

Similar to President Kennedy's words, how wonderful that our students heard President Obama's inauguration speech declare "Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America." and "To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their society's ills on the West—know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy."

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