How often we’ve written about our seemingly rare exposure to those great documents of United States history.
And, we raise the question of, “How often do we hear our National Anthem?”
“How often do we hear, or read, or say, the words of The Pledge of Allegiance?”
When was the last time we read, or heard, “The Declaration of Independence?”
I always seem to mention sporting events, and, I must be honest, the last time I heard our National Anthem was during the broadcast of the NBA Finals. The last time I heard our Pledge was on the last day of School.
When was the last time I heard “The Declaration of Independence?” Well … I feel I have an advantage over many. Our posting of “George Washington Reads The Declaration of Independence” over on our YouTube Channel, as a tribute to the way the History Channel closed out its mini-series, “Sons of Liberty,” has gained several thousand viewers, so I am exposed to this pretty often. Plus, the posting is popular over on our Blog and Facebook networks. So, I’m “around it” a lot. At least … I thought I was …
However … However … while I have heard “The Declaration of Independence” so many times … I realize this … I haven’t heard “The Declaration of Independence” … I’ve only heard a part of it … only a part of it … It would be, like, reading the first part of a book, and, then, saying, “I’ve read the book.” The Declaration has four distinct parts, and I must admit, I am only familiar, dare I say it, with the first part … the part we all call “The Declaration of Independence.”
On July 4, 1776, the Second Continental Congress voted to approve the Declaration of Independence inside the Pennsylvania State House (now Independence Hall). Four days later, on July 8, 1776, the citizens of Philadelphia were summoned to the State House Yard by the bells of the city. At noon, Colonel John Nixon publicly read the Declaration of Independence for the first time.
On July 4th, 1957, U.S. Senator John F. Kennedy read, and recorded “The Declaration of Independence.” It was the entire text, not just “the opening” which was read.
The previous summer, in 1956, At the Democratic National Convention, Tennessee Senator Estes Kefauver edged John F. Kennedy to become Adlai Stevenson’s running mate.
Just 5 years earlier, in November, 1952, John F. Kennedy had defeated Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr. to win election to the United States Senate. In the presidential election, Dwight Eisenhower and his running mate, Richard Nixon, had defeated Adlai Stevenson.
In a little over four months after this recording, on November 27, 1957, Caroline Bouvier Kennedy was born.
I discovered this video several months ago, and have waited until now to share it. The credits for the source are contained within.
I have also added the link to The National Archives & Records Administration.