tv Museum of The American Revolution Opening Ceremony CSPAN December 25, 2017 6:20pm-8:01pm EST
and crack within the community to destroy it from within. the reason there's so much suspicion is because the fbi did infiltrate civil rights organizations to destroy them. so of course that suspicion is there. >> reporter: >> american history tv is on c-span three every weekend, featuring museum tours, archival films and programs on the presidency, is civil war, and more. here's a clip from a recent program. >> the new museum of the american revolution, just blocks away from the independence haul and liberty bell in philadelphia opened to the public. next it can opening ceremony with speakers, including former vice president joe biden, david mccullough, and journalist cokie roberts. this is about an hour and 40 minutes. ♪
ratified the u.s. constitution and entered the union. delaware. first delaware regiment. pennsylvania, first troop philadelphia city cavalry. new jersey, old barracks museum. georgia, sons of the revolution in the state of georgia. connecticut, the governor's foot and horse guard. massachusetts, 54th massachusetts volunteer reje regiment. maryland, maryland society sons of the american revolution. south carolina, south carolina national guard.
new hampshire. first new hampshire regiment. virginia, the virginia military institute regimental color guard. new york, 9th new york field artillery, veteran corps of artillery of the state of new york. north carolina, the over mountain men. rhode island, united train of artillery. and presenting the flag of the united states, the color guard of the 3rd u.s. infantry regiment known as the old guard.
anthem, performed by curtis institute of music student, jamez mccorkle. ♪ o say, can you see by the dawn's early light ♪ ♪ what so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming? ♪ ♪ whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight ♪ ♪ o'er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming? ♪ ♪ and the rockets' red glare
please be seated at the colors are retired. please welcome the president and ceo of the museum of the american revolution, michael quinn. >> thank you so much. our deepest thanks to the color guard of the original 13 states and to the color guard of the 3rd u.s. infantry regiment as well as the curtis museum. what a momentous start to a
momentous opening. this is the third part of our opening celebration. our program began this morning at the tomb of the unknown soldier of the american revolution where we honored those that sacrificed their lives to build our nation. our program continued in front of independence hall where we celebrated the future of the organization and the youth that are the legacy of the great ideals founded at that time. now we are at the museum of the american revolutions. we are celebrating not just the opening of the museum, but the people and the ideas of the revolution and the great landmarks and history of philadelphia and we are grateful to the many faith leaders, students and others that made this day possible. the museum we open today tells a story of the creation of the american nation. how people from all walks of
life found a bond in the soaring ideals of equality, freedom and self-governance, who consecrated the bond by sacrifice through eight years of warfare. that's turned them into the unified people of one nation and has done so for every generation since. this museum celebrates and belongs to the american people. there are many distinguished speakers with us on this joyful day and we will introduce them as they spieak. we are grateful. we introduce many special guests. terry mcclul lowing, the
lieutenant korcher of north carolina, dan forth, the lieutenant korcher of rhode island, dan mckee. the former governor of delaware, michael castle, the rm toer
governor of new jersey, james floorio, the chairman governor of martin malley and the former governor of pennsylvania, edward rendell. thank you for speaking at independence hall. i'm also pleased to recognize congressman kyle rarity for joining us and members of city counsel of philadelphia. thank you. we are joined by
our great partner, the super intendant sin nia mccloud. it is such a privilege when the
architect of this greet new building join us. bob, we are delighted you came. and we are also joined by the founder of intech construction who built the museum on time and on budget, will schwartz, new member of the museum of the american revolution board. we have guests from many places and we are so honored that leaders of museums and cultural institutions across america are with us today. you are too numerous to support so raise your hand so everyone knows you are here. thank you for turning out and joining us and welcoming us as we proudly join your ranks as one of great cultural institutions of this city. we are joined by people of many other institutions but probably no one has come further or is
more special to us than ellen schick tanz, and her family, the donors who have donated the two wonderful bronze shul. churl panels depicting washington crossing the delaware and the declaration of independence. thank you so much. there are leaders from many distinguished institutions from across the nation today, and i'm delighted to recognize some of them. steve rockwood of family search international from salt lake city, utah. louise mirror, president and ceo of the new york historical society. jack dwayne warren, director of the society. ann turner dylan, president
general of the national society daughters of american revolution. james vaughn, executive director of the hah hah historical and museum commission. stephanie stevic, director of kmit sewnian museum of american history. ron shink, susan stein, vice president of thomas jefferson's monticello, ruth taylor, executive director of the newport historical society. david roezel, beth hill, president and ceo of ft. tie kond roe ga in new york and bonny joe griffith of the delaware tribe of indians.
and now i would like to introduce the members of the board of directors of the museum of the american revolution, will you raise your hands so everyone knows where you are and that you are here today? these are the volunteers who have guided and sustained the multiyear initiative to create the museum. now it is a very great pleasure to welcome the mayor of the great city of philadelphia, mayor jim kinney. >> good morning, everyone. i can't tell you how proud i am as a native life long philadelphiian to be standing here in front of this billing and in front of all the great dignitaries here today. i am personally honored. it's fantastic to see you out
there to help us open this. those locking to learn more about the founding of their country have already made visiting philadelphia a priority. this will bring those people back while making those who haven't made the trip more likely to do so. this museum will provide greater insight into the sacrifices that were made in order to make the ideas that were first discussed in independence hall a reality. ers this museum will proiz us with a much deeper appreciation of what it means to live free. i think the most important part of this museum for mes as i have gone through it is it acknowledged fully the contributions of others who made this country great. african-americans, native americans, and women, all others
who didn't sign the declaration of independence. they were finally acknowledged within this space, and i think that's wonderful. and jerry lynn fest, you're a great philadelphiian and an american, and i'm honer nod to know you and i'm happy to see you here today. thank you everyone. >> thank you. please welcome the governor of the commonwealth of pennsylvania, tom wolf. >> thank you very much. mayor kenny, thank you for your comments. and it's great to be here, and i want to welcome all of you who
are from out of town to pennsylvania. i just want to point out that the@wi the weather is always like this in pennsylvania. again, i want to thank our distinguished guests today, but i want to especially welcome vice president joe biden. vice president. we are truly honored to have you here today since you began your career you have stood up for the middle class, working people, families and for the interests of the less fortunate everywhere. your time in the senate and white house have made this country better and i want to welcome you back home to pennsylvania. i'm proud to be here to help commemorate the opening of the new museum, this museum of the american revolution that will act as a monument to the lives of those who created this great
nation. there is no better home for this museum than in philadelphia. than in pennsylvania. am i right? [ cheers and applause ] this museum tells the story of the women and men who create third down nation right here in philadelphia where this nation began. located within only a few blocks of the museum are a number of historic treasures that tell the story of how a loose band of colonials toppled a mighty empire and created a nation that has led the world for over two centuries. from independence hall to the site of the liberty bell to the president's house congress hall to the tomb of the unknown revolutionary war soldier, all around us are the struggles that were dedicated 209 life liberty and the pursuit of happiness and now we have a museum solely
dedicated for the first time those who have gone nameless and uncommemorated. they deserve our respect. only a couple of blocks away, emblazoned on the tomb of the unknown soldier of the revolutionary war are the word, freedom is a light of which many women and men have died. this will turn the light on to those in p.a. and around the world who made the country what it is and shocked the world 240 years ago. i can't think of a more fitting tribute to their memories and i'm glad pennsylvania will pay home to this new treasure. i want to thank all of those who came together and i want to thank michael quinn, who has been up here. can we give a round of applause
for michael quinn? michael will lead this museum to great success right here in philadelphia. thank you all for being here to celebrate in great moment in american history. thank you. . >> please welcome noted author and two-time recipient of the pulitzer prize, david mccullough. >> what a morning. what a morning to be grateful we are americans. what a morning celebrate our
past and what that teaches us about how we should move forward into the days that come. the american revolution still goes on. the american revolution was one of most important events of all time. and very much of it happened right here in this great storied city. it's not easy to understand the past. because for one thing, no one ever lived in the past. they lived in the present. it was their present, not ours and of with to not only understand who they were, what they set out to achieve, how successful they may have been, but we have to understand the time in which they lived. we have to not only understand
what they wrote, but what they read. because if we don't understand what they read, we won't understand why they said or wrote what they did. they were real people. history is human. when in the course of human events, human is the operative word. we can learn more from history than any other subject because it is about the human experience, and we can learn more about our country, our people, our past, our heart and soul, as a civilization by knowing more about the american revolution. we can never, ever know enough about the american revolution. and the opening of this
magnificent museum is not just a moment to celebrate here in philadelphia, but all over our country. this is a moment of national importance and cause to celebrate. [ applause ] one of the most easiest listens of history is almost nothing of consequence has ever been accomplished alone. it's a joint effort. our country is a joint effort. this city is a joint effort. and this marvelous museum is a joint effort. and i think we should pay tribute to all of those who worked for 16 years to make this happen. and congratulations and glod bless you.
and no one deserves for credit than jerry lynnfest. i think today we should all go away from this ceremony standing taller. because of who we are and what we have believed in, what we stand for, the values we still hold deer to us. and this museum will do more to teach the oncoming generations about the importance of the revolution not just in a military sense but in a sense of ideas and the human spirit that anything we have ever had. high time we have had such a museum the z this.
history isn't just about politics and war. history is about art and music and architecture. architecture. and history is about poetry. and about memory through the arts. we have a broadway show right now, "hamilton" we have the work of john trumbull and now bob stein's work right here. this is a major work of architecture. this is april 19th 2017. here is a poem from april 19th, 1837 -- 180 years ago.
writtenly ralph waldo emerson. by the road bridge that arched the flood, there flagged an april's breeze unfurled. here once the embattled farmer stood and fired the shot heard round the world. the foe long since in silence slept, a like the conquerer silent sleeps. and time in ruined bridge has swept down the dark stream which seaward creeps. on this green bank by this soft stream, we set today a votive stone that memory may their deed redeem when like your sires our sons are gone. spirit that made those heroes dare to die into leave their children free, bid time and
nature gently spare the shaft we raise to thee. spirit -- spirit and perseveran perseverance. george washington once said -- to me it's one of most powerful messages to us -- percent sbreerns spirit have done wonders in all ages. >> please welcome oneida representative ray hallbritter. >>. [ speaking foreign language ] thank you for that kind destruction. it's truly an honor to follow
one of america's greatest horns. i bring you greetings of peace from the nation and our people begin gathering and since time immemorial with the thanksgiving address with these thoughts that we all come together in the peace as one and give thanks to what we have and our mind become as one. native members have traveled here to be part of special day know that prayer well. we are so fortunate that we could be here to celebrate the opening of such a grand museum. today is a day of gratitude. oneida is proud our ancestors will be immortalized in the museum of the american revolution. we are grateful that such great american leaders like mayor kenny, governor wolf and rend el
are here today. at that time when we experienced so much political leaders and organizations from all walks of life come together to honor our nation's founding. just as the thanksgiving prayer says, this is also a day that gives my people great peace of mind, because it is the culmination of years of work to preserve honor and enshrine our historic role in the founding of this country. never forget is a refrain we often hear about history. the phrase implores us to preserve our heritage and also reminds us without effort our pasts can be erased from our memories. few know this better than native americans and are proud to take stepsz that's our role in this nation's founding are remembered and that our histories are told and retold for generations to come. with today's open of the -- of
the memory chasm. as a proud supporter of this wonderful new facility, the unit nation is proud to be part of this initiative because we believe it is a critical facet of both preserving the history of the united states and honoring indigenous people's formative role in building this great country of ours. today many americans have no knowledge in native americans' role in the revolution but now they have a chance to hear the rich and compelling story about how our people reached across cultural lines and worked together with the founders in the unified fight for freedom. the history of my ancestors and the coalition fighting british tyranny had -- before the french, it was the people who became george washington's first allies at great sacrifice to us. it was the uniteds who took up
arms in support of the colonial neighbors early on, considered by many historians to be the bloodiest battle of the revolution. that cemented the longstanding solution between us and the colonies and it made us the very first allies of this country. our blood was mingled with the colonist blood. our bones were mixed with the bones of the patriots. to be sure, it is troubling that this history has often been omitted from america's founding story, but those omissions only underscore the significance of this new facility and the moral imperative of the museum's mission. the museum makes sure that we are not succumbing to reductionism and not oversimplifying the beginnings of america. instead, it guarantees that the details are preserved and that all the stories of sacrifice are passed on to future generations, as our grandmothers and grandfathers have admonished us to do so. preserving and teaching the true founding story of america is not
an exercise in self-consideration, self self-congratulation. this is particularly important for people of color, who too often are victims of historical revisionism, distortion and omission. native american heritage, for example, has too often been fictionalize or omitted in ways that are factually inaccurate or deeply destructive. in an ever more diverse country, it is more critical than ever for future generations to underand appreciate their multicultural roots and history. making sure that is not a dangerous or radical idea. more than two centuries after my ancestors fought side by side with general george washington, our ancestors deserved their place in our collective memory about this country's founding. while their bodies died for our future, we now ensure that their memories will not. in erecting this museum, we are also protecting the longevity of
the american revolution's core ideals for generation to come. two centuries after the war, those notions of liberty, equality and democracy remain as revolutionary as ever and an inspiration to the world. when my ancestors joined with the colonists, they were standing in solidarity for these immutable ideals, just as our country stands for those ideals today. in latin that is summoned by the motto e pluribus unim, from many, one. we have that similar verse, we bring our minds together as one. and in the spirit of that prayer, let us give thanks for this museum and its work, protecting the ideals of america and its founding story. we're doing our part to make sure the spirit of the american revolution endures and that the diverse roots of america's founding are enshrined for posterity. [ applause ]
>> please welcome colonel john bircher. and representing the militant order of the purple heart. for combat service in vietnam. >> thank you. it is such a great honor to be able to be here today. i want to thank general jumper and mike the -- mike quinn and especially vice president joe biden. what an honor it was to meet you today, mr. vice president. we miss you. [ laughter ]
can i see a show of hands, how many of you in the audience are veterans? wow. well, i'm here today on behalf of a special group of veterans. the 1.7 million men and women who have either given their lives or have been wounded in combat. serving to protect the freedoms that we've all come to take so much for granted. i can tell you that the cost of freedom is not free. it's paid for in the blood of our sons and daughters, brothers, sisters and especially the spouses. general george washington at the end of the revolutionary war
wanted to do something to recognize the fidelity and bravery of the common soldier. not officers but rather the ncos and privates who served in the continental army. and so he created on the 7th of august, 1782, the very first declaration in the colonial army called the badge of merit. it was a simple piece of purple cloth inscribed with the word "merit" on it. at first, we thought there were only about four people who had received it, but our research in the archives has now shown that we know of at least 27 men who received the badge of merit. but after the revolutionary war, it went into disuse, and in 1932, then chief of staff oomph army general mcarthur wanted to do something to recognize the 200th birthday of george
washington. so he brought the badge of merit out of retirement and recreated it as the medal that i wear today. it's the same purple heart and on the back has the words "for military merit" but on the face has the likeness of george washington to recognize all that he did in founding the country. as i mentioned, there have been 1.7 million recipients of the purple heart medal. every single veteran has served and sacrificed something. some gave all, but all gave some, and so it's an honor for me to be able to be here on behalf of those purple heart recipients who have served and sacrificed their lives protecting the freedoms that we all enjoy today. thank you so much. [ applause ]
musical "hamilton," sidney james harcourt. >> philly, how are you today? yeah? i can't tell you what a great day it is to celebrate the birth of our country -- every day is a great day to celebrate american history. it's alive here in philly. it's everywhere. and it is my honor to be here for the opening of this gem in your city and in our country, the museum of the american revolution. it's fantastic.
yeah. long time coming. [ applause ] >> this next song is particularly relevant because of an exhibit inside this museum. as an actor, especially in a period play, you're always imagining your surroundings, what was it like, what did it sound like, were there doors, were there lights? so many little things. and i can't tell you how many hours i've spent imagining washington's command tent. it's inside this building. that tent. seeing it in person, it was so moving it gave this next song new meaning for me. it takes place on the eve of the battle of yorktown. roughly 1781 and david mccullough can correct me if i get anything wrong.
and general washington was giving hamilton his first command, and some sage advice. washington had the forethought to know that the actions that they were taking were going to reverberate through history for hundreds if not thousands of years. he warned us of demagogues and gave sage advice to hamilton about how to use this power. and i have to say that there may be no greater moment for me than to get to perform this song in front of our vice president who embodies the ideals that george washington spoke about. and i want to thank you for your service, mr. joe biden. thank you, sir. [ applause ] >> this next song is called "history has its eyes on you." ♪
♪ let me tell you what i wish i'd known when i was young and dreamed of glory ♪ ♪ you have no control who lives, who dies, who tells your story ♪ ♪ i know that we can win ♪ i know that greatness lies in you ♪ ♪ but remember from here on in history has its eyes on you ♪ ♪ history has its eyes on you [ cheers and applause ] >> and history does have its eyes on us.
everywhere you look there is history reverberating. this is like a theme park for history. it is. everywhere you look. and in particular, alexander hamilton walked these streets. his building for the treasury office were right there. that's the first bank of america, and our next song -- let's hear it for the first bafrbank of america. we have a lot now. but our next song details how that bank got its charter. hamilton was obsessed as treasury secretary with getting a debt plan passed and paying for all of the debt they incurred with the war and the southern democracy republicans were deadset that he would not pass it. he had to turn to the political machine, something he didn't enjoy, to get some trades to try to see what he could get done. never before i think has a song
made passing a debt plan sexy and danceable. so it's got that going for it. it also happens to be the platform and the impetus for aaron burr to jump into a political life. he was laying back at that time. when he saw the kind of power that hamilton could wield, he wanted in. helping me, we have playing the role of hamilton, gracious and taylor. we have thomas jefferson is ramik. and we have james madison as desi. this song is called "the room where it happens." ♪ mr. secretary ♪ mr. burr, sir ♪ did you hear the news about good old general mercer ♪ ♪ they renamed it after him ♪ the mercer legacy is secure
♪ and all he had to do was dry ♪ now how are you going to get your debt plan through ♪ ♪ i guess i'm finally going to have to listen to you ♪ ♪ talk less ♪ smile more ♪ do whatever it takes to get my plan on the congress floor ♪ ♪ now madison and jefferson are merciless ♪ ♪ well, hate the sin, love the sinner ♪ ♪ i'm sorry, burr, i've got to go ♪ ♪ decisions are happening over dinner ♪ ♪ the immigrant emerges with unprecedented the financial water ♪ ♪ a system he can shape however he wants ♪ the virginians emerge with the nation's capital ♪ ♪ no one else was in the room where it happened ♪ ♪ the room where it happened
the room where it happened ♪ ♪ no one else was in the room where it happened ♪ ♪ no one really knows how the game is played ♪ ♪ how the sewage gets made ♪ we just assume it happens ♪ but no one else is in the room where it happens ♪ ♪ alexander was on washington's doorstep one day in destruct and disarray ♪ ♪ alexander said ♪ thomas claims i know you hate him but let's hear what he has to say ♪ ♪ thomas claims ♪ and i arranged the meeting, menu and the seating ♪ ♪ but no one else was in the room where it happened ♪ ♪ the room where it happened ♪ the room where it happened ♪ no one really knows how the parties get to yes ♪ ♪ the pieces of sacrifice that
never came to yes ♪ ♪ we just assume that it happens but no one else is in the room where it happens ♪ ♪ meanwhile madison is grappling with the fact that not every issue can be settled by ♪ ♪ meanwhile congress is fighting over where to put the capitol ♪ ♪ it is isn't pretty. ♪ jefferson approaches with a din? midnight ♪ ♪ and win a victory for the southerners in other words ♪ ♪ a quid pro quo ♪ but wouldn't you like to work a little closer to home ♪ actually i would ♪ ♪ i propose the potomac ♪ we'll see how to goes ♪ the room where it happens ♪ the room where it happens ♪ no one else was in the room where it happens, the room where it happens, the room where it happens ♪ ♪ no one ever really knows what got discussed ♪ ♪ click, boom then is happened
and no one else was in the room where it happened ♪ ♪ alexander hamilton ♪ did washington know about the dinner ♪ ♪ was it presidential dinner to deliver ♪ ♪ we'll have the banks we're in the same spot ♪ you got more than you gave ♪ ♪ when you've got skin in the game, you stay in the game but you don't get a game unless you stay in the game ♪ ♪ you get nothing if you wait for it ♪ ♪ i want to build something that's going to outlive me ♪ ♪ what do you want ♪ i want to be in the room where it happens, the room where it happens ♪ ♪ i want to be in the room where it happens, the room where it
happens ♪ ♪ i want to be in the room where it happens ♪ ♪ i want to be in the room where it happens ♪ ♪ i wannabe, i gotta be, i gotta be in the room, in that big old room ♪ ♪ hold your nose and close your eyes ♪ ♪ we want our leaders to save i day ♪ ♪ we don't get a say in what they trade away ♪ but we dream in the dark for the most park ♪ ♪ i've got to be in the room where it happens ♪ ♪ i've got to be ♪ in the room where it happens ♪ oh, i got to be in the room where it happens ♪ ♪ i gotta be ♪ i gotta be ♪ in the room
npr, cokie roberts. [ applause ] >> so beautiful. and this -- wasn't this quite wonderful? singing about history. mr. vice president, honored guests and supporters, and especially the young people here today, i have a message, history has its eyes on you. it's true that as general washington said in the song that you have no control over who tells your story. but it's important that his story and that of the other heres of the revolution be told and that's, of course, what we're celebrating here today. you know, there are many stories bravery on the battlefield and
the eight long years of the american revolution, but there are many other stories of people not in combat but in support of the cause, the cause of the idea that became america. take martha washington. she would brave bad roads. she was a prime hostage target. she had to brave diseases in the discomforts of cold and poor rations to join the troops at camp, not just the awful winter of valley forge, but every winter of the long war. and she did it despite her very strong desire to stay home and tend to her duties at mt. vernon. but she did it because the general, as she called him, begged her to come. my friend david mccullough has written about how important it was that george washington kept the army together.
but he needed martha to do that. and he understood that her -- she and her cadre of officers' wives were absolutely essential to troop morale as they came and cooked to the soldiers and sewed for the soldiers and prayed with the soldiers and nursed the soldiers and put on big entertainments for them to keep them going through the long winters. i must say it was a good thing that martha was around because george could sometime be indiscreet. there was a time he danced to three hours straight with the very pretty katie green. it's good that martha was around. keeping up morale was particularly hard in 1880. the british were winning on the battlefield, taking cities, the french had not yet shown up. something had to be done for the soldiers, and one woman here in philadelphia, perhaps at the
urges of martha washington, decided that she was the one to do it. ester reed understand thood tha as a woman in the 18th century, a woman with no political power and no legal power, married women could not own property. the jewelry on their bodies belonged to their husbands. that when you've got skin in the game, you stay in the game, but you don't get a win unless you play in the game. so she penned the sentiments of an american woman. it was printed in newspapers up and down the coast. she called on the women of the country to make sacrifices for the armies which defend our lives, our possessions, our liberty. now ester reed had only been an american woman for 10 years. she came here, married joseph reed who by then was the president or governor of pennsylvania. you might like to be called president, governor wolf, you
know, it's a nice title. and it was a hard adjustment. she wrote home to england saying i cannot say america is agreeable, but soon she became an absolutely ardent patriot, arguing for independence as early as october of 1775. when war came and her husband joined george washington's forces, ester and her four little children found themselves refugees running from place to place to escape the british, her former countrymen, think of it, and disease was rampant. smallpox claimed one of hesitate babies, but she soon had another. the men came home just long enough. think of it, all that hardship just getting through the day in the 18th century was really hard. she was not worried about herself, she was worried about the troops. so she organized. she became publicly active in a way that a good citizen should.
she organized the ladies association of pennsylvania where she was elected the leader. and then put together teams of women to go door-to-door around philadelphia and the suburbs and to collect money for the troops. and the publicity about it spurred women in other states to act as well. as the first lady of pennsylvania, she wrote to all of the other first ladys in tan asked them to start fund-raising drives for the troops as well. in fact, the only ex-stamped letter of martha jefferson that we has, because thomas jefferson burned all of her letters, for which i could kill him again, the only letter we have is her as the first lady of virginia asking the women of virginia to go to their rural churches and donate money for the troops so that they may have an opportunity of proving that they
also participate in this virtuous feelings. in just a couple of weeks, the women in philadelphia raised $300,000. and expected more from the other states to come in. it was almost equal to what robert morris had painstakingly raised to capitalize his bank. shen she had a fight with general washington about how to spend the money. he wanted shirts, she wanted to do something more special for the troops. he was the general. after a series of tense and tenser letters, he won. and shirts were made. and ester dodd, she was just shy of her 34th birthday, but dysentery came raging through philadelphia and she succumbed to it. the council and the assembly adjourned for her funeral because she was such a noted person.
the business of the ladies association was taken up by sarah franklin beige and the women did what the general asked, made shirts, 2,200 of them in one place, for the troops. but just to show that it was something special from the women of america, every woman sewed her own name into the shirt so the soldier knew that there was a woman who cared about him. a citizen who cared about him. out there, grateful for the work that he was doing. and it tided them over. it kept them going until the battlefield victories started to come in and the french finally arrived. now, no one would have criticized ester reed if she had stayed home and worried about her children and just privately voiced her concerns about the troops, but that's not what she did, she decided to make a difference, to engage not only herself but many other women in
the effort to make a difference. she put skin in the game for our country, a country that would deprive her of political and legal rights. it's what joe biden has been doing for his entire adult life. despite personal disasters and political disappointments, he's stayed in the room where it happens and he knows that that's the way -- [ applause ] -- that's the way you win at the game. that's the way you make a difference for your country. and that's what you young people are called upon to do as citizens of this great republic that our forefathers and mothers fought for on the battlefield and in the public square over the centuries. it's my hope that this beautiful new museum helps inspire you to become those active, involved citizens in this very great
country. because history has its eyes on you. thank you. [ applause ] >> please welcome vincent brown, the charles warren professor of history at harvard university. >> thank you all for coming out today. it's a real incredible honor to be here. this museum has been a long time coming. it's startling to think that we're now only dedicating a museum to the american revolution, but perhaps that's a good thing. too often museums are where history goes to die. people can be forgiven for thinking that, anyway. dead, history's commemorated and revered, usually with complex and confusing events shrouded in sacred legend.
legends are powerful. they can motivate people to heroism. loyalty to a cause. high ideals and the courage to carry them out. but they can be brittle. bend them too sharply, challenge it with too much evidence and it snaps. we are weaker for it. the history of the american revolution should be a living history. alive in the aspirations of the present as it was indeed of the past. this kind of history is messy and contradictory. tragic and ironic as often as it is heroic. it also has the virtue of being closer to the truth. so i'm grateful, deeply grateful to the curators of this exhibit for having the courage to tell that truth. to show us not only a proud story of national origins, but a multi-fasciated account of how one might experienced a time of
such turmoil, the danger it presented, the hope it offered, the uncertain outcomes of agonizing decisions. while there are momentous events that commemorate and great men to revere, according to custom, in this museum, american people are on display, and from the perspective of people, history is a predicament rather than a sequence of singular events to be glorified, memorialized and made sacred. this is a living exhibit. a rendering of the fraught and vexing nature of revolutionary times. from george aeg's tent, we can imagine the tension he must have felt when making life and death decisions that would eventually reverberate across the continent and, indeed, the world. when we see the shackles used to restrain an enslaved child like perhaps ones used to restrain washington's own slaves, that we understood it didn't stand for
freedom for all. the united states would soon come to hold the largest slave population in the world and yet the revolution continued to inspire. we can turn our attention, even if only briefly, to harry washington. he escaped from mt. vernon and joined the british army. migrating to nova scotia and eventually sierra leone. he joined another rebellion against the british in that african colony. though his revolt failed, we know that he embodied an american spirit of revolution as certainly as george. 75 years after the declaration of independence, the great abolitionist frederick douglas famously asks what to the slave is the fourth of july? his answer, an inspiration to overthrow the tyranny of his day. to side with the right against the wrong. with the weak against the strong. and with the oppressed against the oppressor he said. here lies the merit of those
revolutionaries and many that have followed. like douglas, most americans are not content with reassuring origin stories. we work now for the prospect of a better future with fast struggles as our guide. when we see the american revolution in its own historical present, we look not only on the grandeur of long dead heros but we appreciate the efforts of common women, men and children of all sorts -- their losses as well as their vkictories and th determination to turn those losses into lessons that would keep them fighting on. americans can be true to that past by re-quisting ourselves for the times to come. taking history as an inspiration to make the united states the country we dream and need it to be. i for one feel very fortunate that this museum is alive right now to show a way.
>> please welcome the chairman of the museum of the revolution and general john p. jumper. >> mr. vice president, diagnosed guests, gerry, marguerite and your family. the museum of the american revolution honors the courage, the sacrifice, the toil and the blood of a generation who dared to fight the war for independence. they did so in a quest to found a nation dedicated to those self-evident values and truths that all people are created equal and in the conviction that citizens of our nation could, can and should govern themselves. now 242 years after the first
shot was fired at concord, the museum will begin its work as an institution that preserves the stories and inspires generations of young people to embrace the meaning of those truths. but as a museum, even as a new museum, we have our own story and our own heros whose courage and sacrifice made today possible. it is both my pleasure and my duty to thank and recognize them. first, our predecessor, the valley forge historical society, founded by the rev rend herbert burk and sustained by many dedicated and selfless people throughout the 20th century. thanks to them, we can present an unparallel collection of artifacts presented in our museum. to the national parks service, which gave up ownership of this land within the independence national historical park so that we could serve the millions who come here every year. to mr. robert stern, who
designed this landmark building and the skilled and tradesmen and workers in this city who built it. our highest thanks goes to our staff and to their families led by mike quinn who have transformed our organization into a full grown institution, who have overseen the construction, who have conceived the remarkable exhibit program and assembled a phenomenal team of designers, film makers and designers to bring this to light for us. none of this would have been possible without the financial resources generously given by more than 11,000 donors, 11,000 donors. remarkable. not only from philadelphia but from every state in the union. you will see the names of these major donors chiselled on the stone inside the wall here inside the entrance of the
museum. our deepest thanks go to each and every one of them. but today we we serve our loftiest admiration and the deepest respect for the one man most responsible for bringing us to this place on this day and that is gerry lenfest. he's here with his wife marguerite and his family. gerry became the founding chairman in 2005 and although relinquishing that official position last december, he will forever remain that singular selfless power able to elevate the human spirit and inspire human endeavor. and to deliver this enduring tribute, honoring the nation's struggle for freedom. it's a privilege to recognize you for your selfless dedication and inspiring leadership. ladies and gentlemen, gerry lenfest.
[ applause ] >> gerry just asked me to make a few comments on his behalf. although it took many years for the museum of the american revolution to be brought to this nation, it is finally here. and we would like to thank all of those who contributed to its being. way to go, gerry. [ applause ] >> thank you, marguerite. thank you, gerry. >> well, it's now my duty to introduce our keynote speaker, former vice president joe biden. i'm not sure what more i can
say. you've heard so much praise of him. all absolutely true. but i do want to add that he is actually a son of pennsylvania, born in scranton. but at an early age his family undertook that hazardous crossing of the delaware river to settle in wilmington. there mister biden successfully ran for and won a seat in the u.s. senate in 1972, becoming one of the youngest senators in american history. and that was just the beginning of a career of one of our nation's great public servants. he won election to the senate six times and he was elected vice president twice. ladies and gentlemen, please welcome the 47th vice president of the united states of america, joe biden. [ cheers and applause ]
>> thank you very much. thank you. thank you. thank you very, very much. it is, you know, those of us who have served in public office for some time are accustomed to say it's an honor to be here, but this is truly an honor to be invited to participate today and to follow such distinguished speakers. and i mean that sincerely, thank you. governor, it's a pleasure to see you again. and, mr. mayor, thank you for the passport into philadelphia. and to all of the distinguished guests. i was contemplating when i had
the -- was flattered to be asked to, quote, keynote, and it will not be a long keynote. i was contemplating what i should talk about. and i thought about what i think is a fundamental question. what does this museum intend to stand for? is it -- were our founders who lived the revolution, who gave their lives for the revolution, what were they attempting to do? what did they stand for? i think it's important that we answer that question because it's as relevant today as it was then. to paraphrase emerson's poem, what did the people hear when they heard that shot heard round the world? what was it that they heard?
what was this experiment about? was it just about independence? a revolution for independence? i think it was about an idea, how to give life to a renaissance idea that a country could actually be governed by its people. all of its people. its wealthy people. its poor people. its people who could read, who couldn't read, educated, uneducated. the revolutionary notion of the consent of the governed. it seems to me that's ultimately why they say america was an idea.
the idea that people could govern themselves. not a monarchy. not a governmental system that conferred power on the elite or the military. or only the educated. an idea that ordinary people could do extraordinary things. given half a chance. it truly was a revolutionary idea. an idea that both startled and at the same time gave hope to the rest of the world. it's an american idea that i still think gives hope to the rest of the world. i have traveled almost every country in the world. in the last 40 years, i've met
every major world lead, without exception. why do they look at us the way they do? why are we still the most respected nation in the world? with all our faults and all the mistakes we've made, our principals, our founders, it seems to me they asserted, which has been referenced already, again, what was a revolutionary idea, including the french revolution. we hold these truths to be self-evident. we hold these truths self-evident.
there was nothing self-evident about that assertion when it was made. it's etched on the wall. all men are created equal. endowed by their creators. we initially asserted that our rights do not come from a government, they come from the mere fact we're children of god. we exist. therefore we have these rights. we need not ask anyone for any of the rights we possess. this new republic went on to -- would not be defined by a single
race or religion but by those inalienable rights. that do our founders were self-evident and they thought self-executing. but it took 13 years to give those asserted rights, 13 years to put these ideas into a document of governance. the constitution. the constitution. that made our institutions the guarantor not the deliverer of, but the guarantor of these inalienable rights. it was the vehicle that we constructed here in this city
that would enshrine the principles we said we believed in. and unlike any other nation in the world, and that is no hyperbole in that statement, unlike any other nation in the world, the united states is uniquely a product of our political institutions. you cannot define an american by race, religion, ethnicity. you can only define an american by an intuitive commitment to the notion that all men are created equal. endowed by their creator. and guaranteed by that constitution.
our constitution and our adherens to its principles are the reason why we remain the most respected, emulated, revered nation in the world. not withstanding what you hear today from some others. we lead -- [ applause ] >> i was criticized, most times totally justifiable criticism, about 12 years when i said in a major speech that we lead the world not by the example our power, but by the power of our example. that is not hyperbole. [ applause ] >> we lead the world by the
power of our example. there is nothing guaranteed about our democracy, though. nothing guaranteed about self-governance. there is no guarantee that we will remain the greatest example of freedom and liberty and equality in the history of the world. no guarantee at all. we have to remind ourselves why we've been able to accomplish so much. how did we earn that respect? and how can we maintain it? just as the generation of revolutionaries before us did. just like every generation that's followed and will follow. but if you excuse a contemporary
comment, the only way this nation can be governed with the consent of the people is we arrive at a consensus. it requires a consensus. it requires compromise. it requires reaching out. it requires sometimes overlooking. someone once said the truly wise parent, i would argue a wise government, knows what to overlook as well as what to look at. but politics today is pulling us apart at the seams. it's gotten worse.
our politics has become too negative. too nasty. too petty. too personal. partisans are not looked at as opponents but as enemies. we no longer just question the judgement of our opponents, we spend more time questioning their motive. a very presumptuous thing to do. cokie's heard me say i learned a lesson early on as a young senator. i did not want to go to the senate because of an accident that occurred after i was elected. and a man named my mansfield who had more integrity in his little finger than most people have in
their whole body who said you owe it to your deceased wife and child to be sworn in. come stay six months. so i -- the day i was supposed to be sworn is as mike castle remembered, i didn't show up, i stayed in the hospital. i changed my mind. so he sent the secretary of the senate to the hospital to swear me in. and when i went down, i got an assignme assignment. i thought every freshman senator got an assignment. once a week i'd show up in the majority leader's office to report on the assignment i was given. it took me about three months to figure out all he was doing, god love him, as my mother would say, was taking my pulse to see how i was doing. one day in the end of may following the tradition i had, which was to walk through those doors, double doors down into
the well of the senate to check when the last vote would be so i know what amtrak train i could take to get home and see my sons. and jesse helms from north carolina was excoriating. a friend of mine to this day, bob dole and one of my mentors, teddy kennedy, for the precursor for americans with disability act. he was talking about it's not the government's obligation to deal or care with the handicapped, et cetera. so i sat down before i meeting and i guess i looked angry. he said, what's the matter, joe? he spoke in clip tones. i said that jesse helms -- and i went on to basically say he had no social redeeming value. i couldn't understand how he was doing what he was doing. he looked at me and said, joe, what if i told you that dot and jesse helms three years ago were
reading "the raleigh observer" if their hometown and there was an advertisement with a man in steel braces up to his hips saying, all i want for christmas is someone to love me. what would you say if i told you they adopted that child? i'd say i would feel foolish. he said they did, joe. he said i learned a long time ago everyone's been sent here was sent because their state found something good about them. it's your job to look for that. it's always appropriate to question a man or woman's judgement, but never their motive because you don't know it. well, ladies and gentlemen, all we do today it seems is question motive. we need to focus on the things that unite us. focus on what our founders understood. that there is nothing beyond our
capability, beyond our capacity. nothing. focus on the motto that was referenced by a previous speaker, e pluribus unum. out of one, many. that's who the hell we are. we're so different. we're so different. but so similar. in our aspirations. we have the crucible. the constitution. we should make those aspirations sing. history has demonstrated when we act as one america we always do well, no matter who is in charge. rich, poor, middle class, black, white, asian, hispanic, gay, transgender. those who have been here generations and those who have only come here recently.
one america, even when it's not easy, which most of the time it's not. even when there are setbacks with xenophobic attitudes. xenophobic attitudes. we've always eventually stepped forward, we've always overcome. but as martin o' malley who i consider a great friend, an incredible governor, he heard me say this before when he asked me to speak at fort mchenry's 200 anniversary, i think we're the only country in the world with an anthem, a national anthem that ends with a question. i don't think there's any other. i may be mistaken. i don't think there's any other anthem in the world that ends with a question. does that star spangled banner
yet wave? that question, in its implicit aspiration, is echoed through every single perilous moment in america and has helped us endure over the past two centuries. was it still waving in the mist 200 years ago at fort mchenry? was it waving 50 years later as the dawn's early light broke over a nation ripped apart by a civil war? was it waving on the beaches of normandy? in the mountains of korea and the jungles of vietnam, the streets of fuluja and the kunar valley in afghanistan? was it still waving? is it waving over america when an american stood on the moon, our first responders at ground zero? was it waving when a weary
president at get is burg, or a preacher with a dream at the lincoln memorial, does it wave over embusy, every forward position, every ship, every man, every woman in the service of america? every fire house, ballpark, town and city in this great nation, in the front porches of my house and many of yours, waiting for their return? to state the obvious, thus far the resounding answer is yes. and it will now and forever wave, but only if you hold onto it. because it's not the flag that we're waving. it's what lives within us. is it in our heart? do we really understand and mean
what this museum is about to celebrate. ? in the heart of every american is the very idea of america. they don't even know it to to articulate it that way. ask the average person when you leave here, go to lunch on a street corner, why do you have the right to do a, b, c or d? they'll tell you because the constitution says i do. they may have never even ever read the constitution. folks, this is an important -- not monument, but reminder that we've got to fight every damn day to remind ourselves how we got to where we are. don't ever think that there's
ever anything self-executing about democracy. it lives in this museum. in every movement of every child who's going to walk through this door. in the hand with a parent. and believes that he or she can do anything. why? because we're american. why? because we hold these truths self evident. why? because it's all about the consent of the governed. that's what makes us different. that's what makes us special. and that's why it's such an incredible honor to be able to
stand here for the opening of this museum before so many of my fellow americans. god bless you all and may god protect our troops. thank you. [ applause ] >> thank you, vice president biden. now, will you please join me, general jumper, and jerry lenfest and marg rearet lenfest. the philadelphia boys choir will
perform "america the beautiful" while we cut the ribbon and take the official photographs. please be patient a little. and thank you all for coming. ♪ america america ♪ america america ♪ america america ♪ my home ♪ oh beautiful for spacious skies ♪ ♪ for amber waves of grain ♪ for purple mountain majesty join above the fruited plain ♪
♪ [ applause ] tweet us at cspan history, a tweet from a man across the water asking about an issue that still resounds today, and his question is about the -- how many people were fathered by gis, u.s. gis in vietnam, how were they treated 45 years after their -- the u.s. departure. >> you could be featured during our next live program. join the conversation on facebook at facebook.com/cspan history, and on twitter at cspan history. >> announcer: c-span, where history unfolds daily. in 1979 c-span was created as a public service by america's cable television companies and it's brought to you today by
your cable or satellite provider. >> announcer: next, play right and actor lin-manuel miranda accepts the u.s. capital historical society's 2017 freedom award for his work on the musical "hamilton." mr. miranda spoke at the ceremony in the u.s. capital ice statuary hall. other speakers were nancy pelosi, john lewis of georgia and lisa murkowski of alaska. this is about 35 minutes. good evening, ladies and gentlemen, members of the senate who are here, members of the house of representatives, and all of you who've come here tonight to join with us as we celebrate the awarding, the freedom award to lin-manuel miranda. i'm ron sarasin, president and ceo
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