Remarks at National Archives Rotunda Rededication
Washington, D.C. -- House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi spoke this
morning at the Rededication of the Rotunda for the Charters of Freedom
at the National Archives. The Rotunda holds the Declaration of Independence
and the Constitution and Bill of Rights, known collectively as the
"Charters of Freedom." The President, the Chief Justice
of the Supreme Court, and Leaders of Congress spoke at the ceremony.
Below are Pelosi's remarks:
you, Governor Carlin. Mr. President. Mr. Chief Justice and Associate
Justices. Mr. Speaker and Distinguished Leaders of the Senate. Governors,
and distinguished guests.
and appointed officials, we borne witness to many historic events
in the life of this great nation. I can think of no occasion, though,
that surpasses the honor we have today of participating in the rededication
of this marvelous rotunda and preserving the precious 'Charters
the Beautiful,' we sing, 'Oh beautiful for patriot dream that sees
beyond the years.' The Founders certainly saw beyond the years when,
in the Declaration of Independence, they pledged their 'lives, (their)
fortunes, and (their) sacred honor' to establish a country that
was based upon the principle that all men are created equal.
saw beyond the years when they wrote a Constitution and a Bill of
Rights which have been the basis and the guarantors of our freedom.
has been a beacon of liberty throughout the world, encouraging people
to fight for freedom and drawing newcomers to our shores.
today, on Constitution Day, we celebrate not merely parchment and
its preservation, but the spirit of the American people -- the Founders,
the abolitionists, the suffragettes, the Freedom Riders, the military
veterans -- and all the patriots who continue to see beyond the
years. They challenge us to live up to the ideals that are both
our heritage and our hope.
challenge holds special meaning for us today. As elected and appointed
officials, our highest responsibilities are spelled out in the Preamble
to the Constitution, with a priority to provide for the common defense.
We all take that responsibility very seriously.
difficult time, we must remember that in the early days of our republic,
our common defense was almost entirely homeland defense. Our Founders
knew full well the important balance that was needed between security
knew that as we protect and defend the American people, we must
also protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. All
of us take that oath of office, 'So help us God.' We cannot, and
we must not, allow our civil liberties contained in the Constitution
to become a casualty in the war on terrorism.
blessed America when he inspired the Founding Generation. They had
wisdom, courage, and vision. And it has fallen to every generation
since to preserve the gifts they gave us.
bless us in this good and noble work. And may God continue to bless
the United States of America."