Extract from Sam Waterston’s Remarks at the Independence Day Ceremony at Monticello

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.” The words are so familiar, so potent, so important, so grand and fine, it’s hard to believe that a person, any single person, actually wrote them, picked up a pen, dipped it in ink, and, on a blank white sheet, made appear for the first time what had never before existed in the whole history of the world. By scratching away at the page, he called a country into being, knowing as he wrote that the country was no more than an idea, and the idea might, at any instant, be erased and destroyed, and the United States of America become just another sorry footnote in the history of suppressed rebellions against tyranny ... And went on writing. You can’t help but be impressed by all that that one person, and the small group of individuals around him, not much larger than your group of new citizens, won for so many.

Tr (ViCMRL).
Author
Sam Waterston
Date Range
Date
July 4, 2007
Collection
Quotes by and about Thomas Jefferson