In our business, one person can’t do anything anymore. You create a team of people around you. You have a responsibility of integrity of work to that team. Everybody does try to turn out the best work that they can.
CONSIDER the erotic potential between blogger and commenters.
The blogger is boss, a salon host with wit and whip. Certainly a blogger thrives on commenters — who wants to declaim to an empty e-room? But let’s be clear: blogger, sovereign; commenters, courtiers.
That’s why the bloggerati pounced gleefully last week on the news that one of their own had fallen in love with a commoner, er, commenter.
Reader, she is going to marry him.
Ann Althouse, 58, is a law professor at the University of Wisconsin, Madison who blogs about politics, law and cultural whatnots in a sharp, occasionally ribald tone. She admires Rush Limbaugh, voted for George Bush in ’04 and Barack Obama in ’08. She attracts derision and applause from 500,000 monthly visitors.
The jeers spiked ever since the March 22 announcement on her blog that this divorced mother of two adult sons, stalwartly single for more than 20 years, is engaged to a commenter known simply as “Meade.” Except for her closest readers, the blogosphere was taken by surprise.
“Does she know the guy?” sniggered Mickey Kaus, the Slate blogger, in a bloggingheads.tv interview.
In a phone interview, Ms. Althouse shot back, “If a male blogger found women to consort with by going into his comments, I think he’d be congratulated.”
The tale of Meade and Ms. Althouse is a cross between the studiedness of a Victorian epistolary courtship —a modern-day Robert Browning googling his dear Elizabeth Barrett — and the wackiness of 21st-century life online. The Althouse commentariat would log into the virtual local pub of the blog, gossiping and fantasizing about their queen’s offline love life, and even egging the couple on. When the announcement finally came, the commentariat cheered, bursting with hometown pride that a humble, anonymous son of the Internet could win the hand of the blogger.
Until now, Meade liked his online anonymity just fine. But at his fiancée’s urging, he agreed to be unmasked here. He is Laurence Meade, 55, divorced, father of a college student and a garden designer and caretaker for a Cincinnati estate.
About four years ago, Mr. Meade happened upon Ms. Althouse’s blog, by clicking through a series of Web links originating on the popular blog written by Andrew Sullivan (who also snickered at her betrothal last week).
Intellectually smitten, Mr. Meade read Ms. Althouse’s blog daily, becoming a regular commenter. “He would write jokingly as if he was in love with me,” Ms. Althouse said. “You couldn’t tell if he was fooling around or not, but it warms your heart.”
Mr. Meade even followed a blog kept by Ms. Althouse’s ex-husband, Richard Cohen, a writer in Austin, Tex. Once, about three years ago, when Ms. Althouse and her ex had a blog-spat, Mr. Meade, whose marriage was then unraveling, commented on Mr. Cohen’s behalf.
Over the years, Mr. Meade developed a blog-crush on Ms. Althouse. His wry, eloquent commenter persona became even more flirtatious.
In December, in a private e-mail message, he asked whether they might meet. Nothing came of it.
Turns out that the way to a blog-woman’s heart is through the comments.
In a January post, Ms. Althouse listed lessons from Clint Eastwood’s film “Gran Torino.”
No. 5: “A young man should perceive when a girl likes him and he needs to ask her out to dinner and a movie before somebody else does.”
In front of the eyes and fingertips of thousands, Mr. Meade made his move.
Mr. Meade: “OK. Want to have dinner with me and see it again?”
Ms. Althouse: “Yes, but you’ll have to come to Madison.”
On the phone last week, Mr. Meade recalled that exchange. “It was a throwaway,” he said. “I didn’t expect Ann to answer. Even so, I thought, that’s the end of that. But then Knox noticed.”
That is, Knox, another commenter, who wrote: “Meade, this is HUGE! Meade …? He must be packing.”
Emboldened, Mr. Meade wrote privately to Ms. Althouse. After he offered his Social Security number, in case she wanted to run a criminal check, they made a date.
He was intimidated by her. “I don’t have the education she has,” he said. He had studied history and horticulture in college but never graduated. “I don’t have the social status she has. But I was powerfully drawn to her. And I thought, what do I have to lose?”
Mr. Meade drove 10 hours to Madison. At the theater, they met — and spoke — for the first time. Alas, the film was “The Wrestler.”
As a blogger, Ms. Althouse gives the illusion that readers are privy to her personal life. But she is actually circumspect. The next morning, she posted a harsh review of “The Wrestler,” but didn’t mention the date itself.
But Mr. Meade did: “it didn’t ruin your appetite for dinner, did it? I hope not.”
Mr. Meade kept writing to her on the blog and through e-mail. Writing was the comfort zone through which they had come to know each other over the years. They began to relax.
Ms. Althouse agreed to meet him once more, halfway.
That would be West Lafayette, Ind.
On Friday, Feb. 13, the couple and their laptops met at a cafe there. They chatted, she wrote; literary libidos soared. “I loved the kissing in public,” Ms. Althouse recalled last week. A car had passed and someone hooted. “No one has ever yelled, ‘Get a room’ at me before!” she said, with evident delight.
That evening, the commentariat buzzed with suspicion. “I think the professor has a boyfriend.” Another wrote: “Has anyone seen Meade lately?”
The next morning, Valentine’s Day, Ms. Althouse posted a photograph of the cafe with the caption, “In the Heartland.”
The commentariat speculated madly.
The couple spent two more weekends and 10 days’ vacation together. Ms. Althouse blogged as usual, but did not disclose the romance. She did drop hints and puns like bread crumbs, alluding, for instance, to mead, the honeyed drink. On Feb. 28, Ms. Althouse posted a photo of a skillet on a stove, with the headline: “You cook breakfast. I’ll blog it.”
Mr. Meade wrote: “Nice steamy reflections.”
A prosaic commenter: “Using a metal fork in a nonstick pan?”
Two weeks ago, Ms. Althouse put up a series of photos. The final was a close-up of her hand, trying on Tiffany sparklers.
The commentariat went wild.
Freeman Hunt: “if they’re engaged, they actually got pretty much engaged on the second date.”
Finally, Meade himself stepped forward and made the announcement: “Althouse said yes! I am the happiest man in the world.”
Mr. Meade plans to move to Madison in August, when the couple will become legally wedded blogger and commenter.
Knox, the commenter who sent Mr. Meade on that first movie date, sobbed with virtual joy: “Couldn’t be happier for two people I’ve never met!”
Director: Danny Boyle, “Slumdog Millionaire.”
Motion Picture: “Slumdog Millionaire.”
Actor: Sean Penn, “Milk.”
Actress: Kate Winslet, “The Reader.”
Supporting Actor: Heath Ledger, “The Dark Knight.”
Supporting Actress: Penelope Cruz, “Vicky Cristina Barcelona.”
Foreign Film: “Departures,” Japan.
Adapted Screenplay: Simon Beaufoy, “Slumdog Millionaire.”
Original Screenplay: Dustin Lance Black, “Milk.”
Animated Feature Film: “WALL-E.”
Art Direction: “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.”
Cinematography: “Slumdog Millionaire.”
Sound Mixing: “Slumdog Millionaire.”
Sound Editing: “The Dark Knight.”
Original Score: “Slumdog Millionaire,” A.R. Rahman.
Original Song: “Jai Ho” from “Slumdog Millionaire,” A.R. Rahman and Gulzar.
Costume: “The Duchess.”
Documentary Feature: “Man on Wire.”
Documentary (short subject): “Smile Pinki.”
Film Editing: “Slumdog Millionaire.”
Makeup: “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.”
Animated Short Film: “La Maison en Petits Cubes.”
Live Action Short Film: “Spielzeugland (Toyland).”
Visual Effects: “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.”
Chinese New Year is the longest and most important celebration in the Chinese calendar. The Chinese year 4707 begins on Jan. 26, 2009.
Chinese months are reckoned by the lunar calendar, with each month beginning on the darkest day. New Year festivities traditionally start on the first day of the month and continue until the fifteenth, when the moon is brightest. In China, people may take weeks of holiday from work to prepare for and celebrate the New Year.
An Obstinate Year
Legend has it that in ancient times, Buddha asked all the animals to meet him on Chinese New Year. Twelve came, and Buddha named a year after each one. He announced that the people born in each animal’s year would have some of that animal’s personality. Those born in ox years tend to be painters, engineers, and architects. They are stable, fearless, obstinate, hard-working and friendly have excellent manners, make and keep friends, work very hard, and appreciate luxury. They are very loving and make loyal partners.
Fireworks and Family Feasts
At Chinese New Year celebrations people wear red clothes, decorate with poems on red paper, and give children “lucky money” in red envelopes. Red symbolizes fire, which according to legend can drive away bad luck. The fireworks that shower the festivities are rooted in a similar ancient custom. Long ago, people in China lit bamboo stalks, believing that the crackling flames would frighten evil spirits.
After the flub heard around the world, President Barack Obama has taken the oath of office. Again. Chief Justice John Roberts delivered the oath to Obama on Wednesday night at the White House — a rare do-over. The surprise moment came in response to Tuesday’s much-noticed stumble, when Roberts got the words of the oath a little off, which prompted Obama to do so, too.
Don’t worry, the White House says: Obama has still been president since noon on Inauguration Day.
Nevertheless, Obama and Roberts went through the drill again out of what White House counsel Greg Craig called “an abundance of caution.”
This time, the scene was the White House Map Room in front of a small group of reporters, not the Capitol platform before the whole watching world.
“We decided that because it was so much fun …,” Obama joked to reporters who followed press secretary Robert Gibbs into the room. No TV camera crews or news photographers were allowed in. A few of Obama’s closest aides were there, along with a White House photographer.
Roberts put on his black robe.
“Are you ready to take the oath?” he said.
“Yes, I am,” Obama said. “And we’re going to do it very slowly.”
Roberts then led Obama through the oath without any missteps.
The president said he did not have his Bible with him, but that the oath was binding anyway.
The original, bungled version on Tuesday caught observers by surprise and then got replayed on cable news shows.
It happened when Obama interrupted Roberts midway through the opening line, in which the president repeats his name and solemnly swears.
Next in the oath is the phrase ” … that I will faithfully execute the office of president of the United States.” But Roberts rearranged the order of the words, not saying “faithfully” until after “president of the United States.”
That appeared to throw Obama off. He stopped abruptly at the word “execute.”
Recognizing something was off, Roberts then repeated the phrase, putting “faithfully” in the right place but without repeating “execute.”
But Obama then repeated Roberts’ original, incorrect version: “… the office of president of the United States faithfully.”
Craig, the White House lawyer, said in a statement Wednesday evening: “We believe the oath of office was administered effectively and that the president was sworn in appropriately yesterday. Yet the oath appears in the Constitution itself. And out of the abundance of caution, because there was one word out of sequence, Chief Justice John Roberts will administer the oath a second time.”
The Constitution is clear about the exact wording of the oath and as a result, some constitutional experts have said that a do-over probably wasn’t necessary but also couldn’t hurt. Two other previous presidents have repeated the oath because of similar issues, Calvin Coolidge and Chester A. Arthur.
Is a woman’s virginity worth $3.8 million? That’s how much a 22-year-old from San Diego, California, said she has been offered through an auction she announced in September.
The woman, who goes by “Natalie Dylan,” set up a private auction through the Moonlite Bunny Ranch, a legal brothel in Nevada, has given her lots of “business opportunities,” she said.
Her top bid comes from a 39-year-old Australian, but she has no immediate plans to settle the auction, she said in a recent interview with CNN.
Some men may seek virgins because they want them as trophies, or desire purity. But as to why men would bid so much money on virginity, she said she has no answer.
“I honestly don’t know what they see in it,” she said.
If you think Dylan’s auction amounts to prostitution, she completely agrees. She also said she’s not breaking any laws — after all, prostitution in Nevada is legal.
“I feel people should be pro-choice with their body, and I’m not hurting anyone,” she said. “It really comes down to a moral and religious argument, and this doesn’t go against my religion or my morals. There’s no right or wrong to this.”
The idea that virginity has a high value harkens back to the days of early humans — if a man has sex with a virgin woman, he knows for sure that her children will be his, anthropologists reason. In early civilizations, women were also considered the property of men, said Laura Carpenter, assistant professor of sociology at Vanderbilt University in Tennessee.
Through the 1950s in America, women were expected to remain virgins until marriage, Carpenter said. But with the availability of the pill and the IUD in the 1960s, combined with youth counterculture and gay rights movements, it became more common for women to engage in premarital sex, she said.
Attitudes shifted toward the conservative side in the 1980s with the worldwide HIV/AIDS pandemic, which made the stakes much higher for choosing a sex partner, especially for men. Abstinence-based education programs also took off around that time, with government support, she said.
Today, about 95 percent of Americans have sex before they’re 25, Carpenter said. But worldwide, virgin prostitutes can claim larger fees, certain cultures still attach larger dowries to virgin brides, and some women undergo reconstructive surgery to restore their hymens.
In looking at Dylan’s auction, “To some extent it’s not new. The new part is the Internet,” Carpenter said.
Dylan is not the first to hold a public sale for her sexual innocence. An Italian model reportedly had plans to sell her virginity for more than $1 million in September. Dylan said she was inspired by a report of a Peruvian woman who put her virginity up for sale.
Some think Dylan’s auction may be indicative of a shift in the way society treats sexuality.
“In a world that is teeming with brand messages, with sponsorships everywhere, intimacy is really just the next thing to go,” said Jon Ray, a 24-year-old marketing consultant in Austin, Texas, and author of the blog Who is Jon Ray?
Brett Austin Vanderzee, a 19-year-old student at Oklahoma Christian University who has pledged to stay a virgin until marriage, finds Dylan’s actions somewhat appalling, but not shocking.
“It’s kind of crazy, but I think it’s the general direction that society has been heading in for a while,” he said. “We’re becoming more accepting of things that normally would have been considered unwise.”
Kiara Daines, a 17-year-old from Detroit, Michigan, said she’s saving herself until marriage for personal and religious reasons. Both Vanderzee and Daines said they have endured teasing from their peers because of their choice to remain abstinent.
Others say there’s just too much hype around virginity. Martha Kempner, vice president for information and communications for the nonprofit Sexuality Information and Education Council of the U.S., said telling a young woman to stay”pure” misses the point that sexuality will influence her long after she loses her virginity.
“By putting the emphasis there, [on virginity], we’re actually devaluing the rest of women, the rest of her, and the rest of her sexuality for the rest of her life,” she said.
A recent study in the journal Pediatrics showed that religious teens who take virginity pledges are as likely to have sex before marriage as their religious peers, and less likely to use condoms or birth control when they become sexually active.
Many people say losing one’s virginity has different implications for men than women. While young women see the act as a symbolic giving of themselves, young men are more prone to want to get it over with and brag about it. Similarly, says Kempner, women are taught to keep themselves “pure” and help men exercise control, while there’s a “boys will be boys” attitude around men.
Do men really think that virginity is worth millions of dollars?
Audacia Ray, a 28-year-old former sex worker from New York and author of “Naked on the Internet: Hookups, Downloads and Cashing In on Internet Sexploration,” is skeptical. She views Dylan’s auction as a publicity stunt and doesn’t anticipate she’ll “continue in the industry.”
The importance of a woman’s virginity may vary in different cultures, but generally there’s not the high value there used to be, Ray said.
“It begins to be viewed more as a burden over time — a burden in that losing virginity is an event, so that it has to somehow mean something, which is part of the reason why people are all up in arms about Natalie,” she said.
How do Dylan’s friends and family feel? Dylan, who said she was raised in a conservative, non-Christian religious household, said although her mother doesn’t agree with her, she still loves her as a daughter. Generally people have been supportive, said Dylan, who uses “Natalie Dylan” as a pseudonym.
“I’ve talked with my exes, some different guys, and they understand it’s just a business deal, and they know me, and they know I’m not this promiscuous girl. Honestly, even if I didn’t do this, I’d always be the girl who thinks prostitution is OK,” she said. “I would always want to find a partner that can accept me for me.”
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.
We remain a young nation, but in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things.
The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.
In reaffirming the greatness of our nation, we understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned. Our journey has never been one of short-cuts or settling for less. It has not been the path for the faint-hearted – for those who prefer leisure over work, or seek only the pleasures of riches and fame.
Rather, it has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things – some celebrated but more often men and women obscure in their labour, who have carried us up the long, rugged path towards prosperity and freedom.
For us, they packed up their few worldly possessions and traveled across oceans in search of a new life. For us, they toiled in sweatshops and settled the West; endured the lash of the whip and plowed the hard earth.
For us, they fought and died, in places like Concord and Gettysburg; Normandy and Khe Sahn. Time and again these men and women struggled and sacrificed and worked till their hands were raw so that we might live a better life. They saw America as bigger than the sum of our individual ambitions; greater than all the differences of birth or wealth or faction.
This is the journey we continue today. We remain the most prosperous, powerful nation on Earth. Our workers are no less productive than when this crisis began. Our minds are no less inventive, our goods and services no less needed than they were last week or last month or last year.
Our capacity remains undiminished. But our time of standing pat, of protecting narrow interests and putting off unpleasant decisions – that time has surely passed. Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America.
For everywhere we look, there is work to be done. The state of the economy calls for action, bold and swift, and we will act – not only to create new jobs, but to lay a new foundation for growth. We will build the roads and bridges, the electric grids and digital lines that feed our commerce and bind us together.
We will restore science to its rightful place, and wield technology’s wonders to raise health care’s quality and lower its cost. We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories. And we will transform our schools and colleges and universities to meet the demands of a new age. All this we can do. And all this we will do.
Now, there are some who question the scale of our ambitions – who suggest that our system cannot tolerate too many big plans. Their memories are short. For they have forgotten what this country has already done; what free men and women can achieve when imagination is joined to common purpose, and necessity to courage.
What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them – that the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply.
The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works – whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified. Where the answer is yes, we intend to move forward. Where the answer is no, programmes will end.
And those of us who manage the public’s dollars will be held to account – to spend wisely, reform bad habits, and do our business in the light of day – because only then can we restore the vital trust between a people and their government.
Nor is the question before us whether the market is a force for good or ill. Its power to generate wealth and expand freedom is unmatched, but this crisis has reminded us that without a watchful eye, the market can spin out of control – and that a nation cannot prosper long when it favors only the prosperous.
The success of our economy has always depended not just on the size of our Gross Domestic Product, but on the reach of our prosperity; on our ability to extend opportunity to every willing heart – not out of charity, but because it is the surest route to our common good.
As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. Our Founding Fathers, faced with perils we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations. Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience’s sake.
And so to all other peoples and governments who are watching today, from the grandest capitals to the small village where my father was born: know that America is a friend of each nation and every man, woman, and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity, and that we are ready to lead once more. Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions.
They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.
We are the keepers of this legacy. Guided by these principles once more, we can meet those new threats that demand even greater effort – even greater cooperation and understanding between nations. We will begin to responsibly leave Iraq to its people, and forge a hard-earned peace in Afghanistan.
With old friends and former foes, we will work tirelessly to lessen the nuclear threat, and roll back the specter of a warming planet. We will not apologize for our way of life, nor will we waver in its defense, and for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken; you cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you.
For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus – and non-believers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth; and because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation, and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself; and that America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace.
To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect. 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.
To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.
To the people of poor nations, we pledge to work alongside you to make your farms flourish and let clean waters flow; to nourish starved bodies and feed hungry minds. And to those nations like ours that enjoy relative plenty, we say we can no longer afford indifference to suffering outside our borders; nor can we consume the world’s resources without regard to effect. For the world has changed, and we must change with it.
As we consider the road that unfolds before us, we remember with humble gratitude those brave Americans who, at this very hour, patrol far-off deserts and distant mountains. They have something to tell us today, just as the fallen heroes who lie in Arlington whisper through the ages.
We honour them not only because they are guardians of our liberty, but because they embody the spirit of service; a willingness to find meaning in something greater than themselves. And yet, at this moment – a moment that will define a generation – it is precisely this spirit that must inhabit us all.
For as much as government can do and must do, it is ultimately the faith and determination of the American people upon which this nation relies. It is the kindness to take in a stranger when the levees break, the selflessness of workers who would rather cut their hours than see a friend lose their job which sees us through our darkest hours. It is the firefighter’s courage to storm a stairway filled with smoke, but also a parent’s willingness to nurture a child, that finally decides our fate.
Our challenges may be new. The instruments with which we meet them may be new. But those values upon which our success depends – hard work and honesty, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism – these things are old. These things are true. They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history. What is demanded then is a return to these truths.
What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility – a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation, and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task.
This is the price and the promise of citizenship.
This is the source of our confidence – the knowledge that God calls on us to shape an uncertain destiny.
This is the meaning of our liberty and our creed – why men and women and children of every race and every faith can join in celebration across this magnificent mall, and why a man whose father less than sixty years ago might not have been served at a local restaurant can now stand before you to take a most sacred oath.
So let us mark this day with remembrance, of who we are and how far we have traveled. In the year of America’s birth, in the coldest of months, a small band of patriots huddled by dying campfires on the shores of an icy river. The capital was abandoned. The enemy was advancing. The snow was stained with blood. At a moment when the outcome of our revolution was most in doubt, the father of our nation ordered these words be read to the people:
“Let it be told to the future world…that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive…that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet [it].”
America. In the face of our common dangers, in this winter of our hardship, let us remember these timeless words. With hope and virtue, let us brave once more the icy currents, and endure what storms may come.
Let it be said by our children’s children that when we were tested we refused to let this journey end, that we did not turn back nor did we falter; and with eyes fixed on the horizon and God’s grace upon us, we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations.