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EDITORIALS

Words to remember
Will these stir US to overcome challenges?
T
HE occasion was historic: the swearing in of the first non-white President of the US. The inaugural speech was expected to be equally momentous, and indeed it was.

Another blow to BJP
Kalyan Singh’s exit not a happy sign for it
S
ENIOR BJP leader Kalyan Singh’s resignation from the party’s primary membership has aggravated the troubles it has been lately experiencing in different states.

Central rule in Jharkhand
Shibu Soren cause for political instability again
T
HE Union Cabinet had no alternative but to place Jharkhand under President’s rule on Monday. The state was plunged into political instability after Chief Minister Shibu Soren lost the Tamar by-election on January 8.



EARLIER STORIES

Metro is not for Maytas
January 21, 2009
President Obama
January 20, 2009
Adieu, George Bush
January 19, 2009
Making TV a scapegoat
January 18, 2009
Miliband’s ballistics
January 17, 2009
Terror under arrest
January 16, 2009
Friends or foes?
January 15, 2009
Losing sheen
January 14, 2009
A dangerous trend
January 13, 2009
Don’t bank on others
January 12, 2009


ARTICLE

UK’s unguided missile
Miliband’s views reflect his ignorance
by G. Parthasarathy
E
VER since London’s young, inexperienced and immature Foreign Secretary David Miliband was seen by millions of Indian television viewers patronisingly putting his arms around Mr Pranab Mukherjee — a person many years his senior in age, wisdom and experience — it was evident that Mr Miliband’s visit to India was heading to end in disaster.

MIDDLE

Bringing Rafi alive
by Rajbir Deswal
I
T was an evening with magic woven in the air by songs once sung by the legendary Mohammad Rafi. One after the other, the performers tried to imitate the maestro and regaled the audience. Some copied his range. Others came out with Rafi-like reach of the crescendo and resilience to the base.

OPED

‘People will judge you on what you build, not what you destroy’
Text of Barack Obama’s inaugural speech
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.





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Words to remember
Will these stir US to overcome challenges?

THE occasion was historic: the swearing in of the first non-white President of the US. The inaugural speech was expected to be equally momentous, and indeed it was. Mr Barack Obama must have toiled for several days over it to make it perfect in letter and thought because he knew that the sentiments that he expressed before millions present there and more watching him live all over the world, could lift the sagging morale of a country caught in depression and low spirits. The realism and the steely resolve that he brought to his speech were indeed potent enough to move his country in that direction. The share markets may not have responded favourably but his words tended to find resonance among the US people who have been shell-shocked by the badly weakened economy. He acknowledged that the “challenges we face are real” and “will not be met easily or in a short span of time” but he promised that “they will be met”. “Starting today”, he said “we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America”. That short sentence was said in a sincere tone, reminiscent of a John Kennedy or Franklin Roosevelt or a Winston Churchill.

Although the speech was meant for “my fellow citizens”, he also knew that it was being heard with attention all over the world. So he assured other countries saying that “America is a friend of each nation”, and in particular added: “To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect”. He committed himself that “We will begin to responsibly leave Iraq to its people, and forge a hard-earned peace in Afghanistan”. One just hopes that he will remain true to his word.

As inaugural speeches go, it was brilliant, outstanding. But then, those of some other Presidents that have preceded him have been no less. The speech gave an idea of his intentions, not a policy statement on various vital issues he attended to. How strong the “new foundation for growth” that he has vowed to lay will be will depend on the policies that he will go in for. While underscoring that the US is a melting pot, he mentioned that “We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus —and non-believers”. He will be able to carry them all along if the US agrees to be first among equals, rather than a sole surviving superpower, as it has always thought. This was one of those thoughts to underscore pluralism that binds a nation.

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Another blow to BJP
Kalyan Singh’s exit not a happy sign for it

SENIOR BJP leader Kalyan Singh’s resignation from the party’s primary membership has aggravated the troubles it has been lately experiencing in different states. A former UP Chief Minister, he was credited with having built up a considerable following for the BJP among the OBCs, but found that he was not getting the treatment he needed. A little-known party functionary, Mr Ashok Pradhan, was allotted the BJP ticket for contesting the coming Lok Sabha elections from Bulandshahar despite Mr Kalyan Singh’s stiff opposition. This made his “feeling of suffocation” unbearable and hence his exit from the BJP, which he had rejoined in January 2004 after quitting it in 1999. The development has highlighted the old rivalry between Mr Kalyan Singh and party chief Rajnath Singh.

Internal problems are bound to mar the BJP’s performance in the ensuing elections. Its image has got disparaged not only in UP but also in other states like Rajasthan. The BJP cannot blame other parties to damage its electoral prospects in Rajasthan when there is a bitter battle going on between Mr Bhairon Singh Shekhawat and former Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje. Mr Shekhawat is doing all he can to see her go to jail for allegedly promoting corruption during her tenure as head of the BJP government.

As if this was not enough, recently Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi was projected for prime ministership by industrialists like Mr Anil Ambani and Mr Sunil Mittal. It is a different that after hogging the limelight for three days he chose to abandon his claim in favour of Mr L. K. Advani. This, however, could not prevent the party from showing itself in a bad light. The BJP leadership needs to sit back to reflect on what is coming in the way of its functioning as a cohesive organisation at a time when it has to prepare itself for fighting a general election soon.

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Central rule in Jharkhand
Shibu Soren cause for political instability again

THE Union Cabinet had no alternative but to place Jharkhand under President’s rule on Monday. The state was plunged into political instability after Chief Minister Shibu Soren lost the Tamar by-election on January 8. The President has kept the House under suspended animation, with the hope that the 81-member Assembly could throw up a popular government in due course. Apparently, the UPA government at the Centre is not averse to keeping the option of further exploring the possibility of forming a government in the state open. But then, it is not clear whether it would prefer to have an interim government in Jharkhand for a few months and then hold a mid-term election to the State Assembly, simultaneously with the Lok Sabha polls around April. This is a feasible proposition, but this would mean cutting short the Assembly’s lifespan by almost a year.

Unfortunately, Jharkhand has often been in the news for wrong reasons. There seems to be no end to political instability in the state ever since the last Assembly elections in 2005. Since 2005, it has seen three chief ministers. Mr Soren became the chief minister on two occasions and the BJP’s Arjun Munda occupied the chair for 17 months. Mr Madhu Koda, an independent backed by the JMM, the Congress and the RJD, was at the helm for about two years.

Mr Shibu Soren’s characteristic style of functioning and personalised politics is the main reason for the continued political instability in Jharkhand. After his acquittal in a murder case, he forced the UPA leadership to remove Mr Madhu Koda and anoint him as chief minister. But then, little did he realise that he was a discredited politician and that the people will teach a fitting lesson to him in the by-election. Surprisingly, even after his humiliating defeat, he has not learnt any lesson and wants to call the shots in the state by making his wife, son or a loyalist the chief minister. The President’s rule was imposed on the state only because of Mr Soren’s rigid posture on his successor and not allowing Mr Madhu Koda’s return to power with the backing of his mentor and RJD supremo, Mr Lalu Prasad Yadav. Mr Shibu Soren’s logic seems to be simple: “Only me, or my man. None else.” That essentially complicates the situation in Jharkhand.

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Thought for the Day

A jury too frequently have at least one member, more ready to hang the panel than to hang the traitor.

— Abraham Lincoln

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UK’s unguided missile
Miliband’s views reflect his ignorance
by G. Parthasarathy

EVER since London’s young, inexperienced and immature Foreign Secretary David Miliband was seen by millions of Indian television viewers patronisingly putting his arms around Mr Pranab Mukherjee — a person many years his senior in age, wisdom and experience — it was evident that Mr Miliband’s visit to India was heading to end in disaster. Even before he was born, Britain’s then Prime Minister Harold Wilson learned the cost of offending India by indiscreet comments during the 1965 India-Pakistan conflict. An enraged Indira Gandhi made it a point to turn her back on and snub Mr Wilson at every international meeting. Things changed only when Mr Edward Heath replaced Mr Wilson and ensured that he did not repeat Mr Wilson’s indiscretions during the 1971 Bangladesh conflict.

One of Mr Miliband’s Labour Party predecessors, Mr Robin Cook, faced similar Indian wrath by seeking to lecture India on Jammu and Kashmir. Mr Cook’s indiscretions resulted in Queen Elizabeth’s State visit to India in 1997 becoming an unmitigated disaster.

Since Mr Cook’s indiscretions, Prime Ministers Tony Blair and Harold Brown have conducted relations with India in an astute manner, showing due understanding of Indian sensitivities. Indo-British relations have flowered, symbolising a new era in Britain’s relations with its erstwhile “jewel in the crown”. Mr Miliband’s brazenness and indiscretions lead one to conclude that he perhaps mistakenly believes even now that “Britannia rules the waves” and that the sun is still to set on the British Empire. Worse still, Mr Miliband’s impetuosity and arrogance were laced with a stark ignorance of developments in the subcontinent, which was evident in the many brazen statements he made in India.

Rejecting India’s call for the extradition of those involved in the Mumbai carnage, Mr Miliband said that the opposition of Pakistan’s judiciary to General Musharraf’s excesses showed that the judiciary in that country was vibrant and free. Is this really true? Has he forgotten that ousted Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhury and many of his colleagues have not been reinstated and that Chief Justice Hamid Dogar, who swore allegiance to General Musharraf’s infamous “Provisional Constitutional Order” and others like him still control the judiciary in Pakistan? Can Justice Dogar, who faces serious charges of impropriety and continues in office, thanks to the support of those in power, really act independently of the army, which elevated him to the high office he holds?

Moreover, if Britain was prepared to wait for two decades to secure extradition and trial in a Scottish court of the Libyans involved in the Lockerbie bombings, why does Mr Miliband pontificate to India when it demands that those responsible for the Mumbai carnage should face trial in India? Has he forgotten that the US secured the extradition of Mir Aimal Kansi, the Pakistani accused of killing CIA agents in 1993, and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, one of the masterminds of the 9/11 attacks, to face trial in the US and that Kansi has since been tried, found guilty and executed in the US? Or does Mr Miliband believe that what is sauce for the Anglo-Saxon goose is not sauce for the Indian gander?

It would have been understandable if Mr Miliband had been honest enough to acknowledge that the UK could not afford to have the ISI exposed because it needed ISI assistance to keep tabs on British nationals of Pakistani origin having developed jihadi tendencies after visiting Pakistan. But to have the audacity to question on Indian soil the validity of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s statement that it was just not possible for the attackers in the Mumbai carnage to have acquired the weapons, ammunition, equipment and extent of training in maritime and commando operations without any official agency in Pakistan being complicit, reflects a measure of arrogance which is unpardonable.

Worse still, to link the violence perpetrated by groups like the Lashkar-e-Taiyaba to the issue of Jammu and Kashmir as Mr Miliband has done, betrays ignorance of what the Lashkar really stands for. Does Mr Miliband not know that the Lashkar justifies the 9/11 attacks and proclaims that the entire subcontinent has to be made an Islamic emirate and that it has carried out attacks all across India in the past?

The message that needs to be clearly sent to 10 Downing Street is that Mr David Miliband is not welcome in India. In any case, with expectations of a Conservative Party victory in the next elections in the UK, Mr Miliband will, doubtless, end up in the dustbin of history.

While his transgressions can be dealt with, it is unfortunate that Mr Pranab Mukherjee muddied India’s diplomatic waters by indicating that New Delhi had effected a substantive shift in its policy by agreeing to a “fair trial” in Pakistan of the culprits involved in the 26/11 carnage. His subsequent disclaimer has been brushed aside in Pakistan as having been issued because of domestic political criticism. It is now for the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, to clarify India’s position on this crucial issue.

There should be no doubt that any investigative and judicial process in Pakistan will be a farce, in which the ISI involvement will be covered up. Even if persons like Zarar Shah in the LeT are brought to trial, the judicial process will be prolonged, because as in the case of Omar Sayeed Sheikh, convicted of murdering American journalist Daniel Pearl, who still lives in comfort, LeT leaders have enough material to expose ISI involvement in their activities.

India should not forget that the citizens of 14 other countries, including the United States and Israel, also perished in Mumbai. Ed Royce, a ranking Republican Party member in the House Committee on Terrorism and Non-Proliferation, has demanded that Pakistan should hand over the perpetrators of 26/11 for trial by “an international tribunal where they can face justice for crimes against humanity”. Given Pakistan’s insistence that it will not, and over the culprits to face trial in India, the time has come to support suggestions made Mr. Royce and urge both the Obama administration and the US Congress that that the United States should seek extradition of the perpetrators to face trial in US courts, as one is sure that there will be a cover-up in any investigative and judicial processes in Pakistan.

Israel and others should be co-opted to join this effort. This is the least that New Delhi can and should do on this issue. Acquiescing in to a trial in Pakistan because of the exertions of people like Mr Miliband will amount to a betrayal of the families of those who perished in the Mumbai carnage. It will only set the stage for more such terrorist attacks on India.

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Bringing Rafi alive
by Rajbir Deswal

IT was an evening with magic woven in the air by songs once sung by the legendary Mohammad Rafi. One after the other, the performers tried to imitate the maestro and regaled the audience. Some copied his range. Others came out with Rafi-like reach of the crescendo and resilience to the base.

Still others tried likening their style to his playing sudden drops and immediate starts. Rafi’s velvety delivery with his silver tone, unbrazen, unbruised and wavy voice, posed a challenge of sorts to the singers. And above all, mixing devotion with their presentation, was each singer’s hallmark.

He too had been a Rafi admirer all his life. He too had sung Rafi numbers in his college days, drawing room get-togethers and official functions. He too used to win applause on each rendition. His friends called him Mohammad Rafi.

But now he had grown old. Too old infact. His voice did not support his range. His urge fell flat. His lungs failed him. His throat gathered phlegm even while talking, which he had either to blow out, or gulp in. Most of his admirers were gathered upto their ancestors. He had none to tell him to sing a Rafi number. But he was to the core a Rafi worshipper.

Rafi Nite made him reach the venue with his family. They seemed to know about his passion. He could not compete. But he wanted still to perform. He couldn’t find a slot. He was restless. Perhaps he could not have been allowed to sing. Or the organisers thought so. But he was determined to have his way.

He climbed on to the stage, carrying his keyboard synthesiser, carefully wrapped in a sheet of cloth. He ordered the mike to be brought near him. He also beckoned the tabla player, to give him company. With conscious effort, he could balance himself. He squatted keeping the keyboard in front of him while unwrapping it. His hands trembled.

People watching all this laughed. They made fun at his entry. His aggressive style. His tremors. When the battery cells for the synthesiser fell off his hands, it evoked a bigger laughter. The orchestra director had the courtesy to help him put the battery in place. There was whistling and hooting too. Organisers did not know how to pull this man off the stage, without being rude to him, in full view of the audience.

Then he began. His fingers started flying from one end to the other. It made sonorous music. Tabla beats added still more charm to the presentation. People’s laughter died down all of a sudden. And then he began to sing. He gave the first line, “Aae bahar ban ke lubha kar chale gaye…!” And the repeat. And the fillers. And the entire song.

The auditorium walls resounded with only his singing. No laughter. No exchange of glances. No hooting. All present were mesmerised. Photographers took him in focus. Many others also followed suit with their cameras, from amongst the audience.

There was huge applause when he finished. Some wanted him to sing another number. He sat there still squatting. Still smiling. Still in the “race”. But he chose to opt out amid thunderous felicitations and salutations.

He wrapped his keyboard equally carefully. Shook hands with the tabla player. Smiled at the audience once again with a “howzat” and joined his family, waiting with moist eyes.

Of the Rafi fans, admirers and “devotees,” this old man was perhaps the most spirited of them all. While all others sung a dead Rafi, he was the one who brought him alive.

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‘People will judge you on what you build, not what you destroy’
Text of Barack Obama’s inaugural speech

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 shortcuts 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 labor, 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. 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, programs 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 the 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' 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 the 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 the 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, just as the fallen heroes who lie in Arlington whisper through the ages. We honor 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 – honesty and hard work, 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 60 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.

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.

Thank you. God bless you. And may God bless the United States of America.

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