Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Let Freedom Ring!

Today is the Presidential Inauguration. I know we were doing so well at Ancient History, but we, as Americans, are making history today... so I stopped with the Ancients and decided to read three of the most moving Inauguration speeches of American history.

I was able to explain a bit of history to Alex (who was really the only one who completely understood it all) in between the speeches and therefore give him a bit of background on what these great men where talking about. Lincoln's speech was all about slavery, civil war, and equality. Roosevelt's speech was about the dedication to the eradication of poverty and of course, war. Different wars, different times of hardship, but the same type of words. (Paraphrased) 'We have to stick together. We have to have pride in out country. We have to bring back the spirit of the American peoples and set the tone for a new world.'

JFK's was quite different. He addressed other nations. He addressed the whole world. And of course, his stunning and unforgettable conclusion "And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you--ask what you can do for your country.
My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man."
Which reading it in the context of the rest of the speech (and not disconnected from his other sentiment as it so often is,) well, Alex and I both had tears in our eyes. What an amazing speaker!

We do not have television, so we did not get to listen to President Obama's speech today (wow, that felt good to write :) ), but our project for today was to predict what he is going to say and the topics he is going to cover for the Internet stream we will find later, and then compare what we thought he needed to address and what he did actually say, and how we believe it measures up.
After that we built a vocabulary list with the words we learned from the three speeches we read and he looked those up in a dictionary and wrote down what they meant. Words like communism, abolish, and tyranny.

It was a great lesson.

Did you know?

Did you know that FDR was the only president to serve more than two terms, and in fact, he died a year into his FOURTH term? I had no idea.

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