“When nothing but hope and virtue could survive”–President Obama’s Speech and an Image

Originally uploaded by jdickins_photo

When I first realized I would not get close enough to the President Elect to take pictures of him, I was upset. Had I traveled so far, slept so little, and carried so much camera equipment to stand in the freezing cold and take pictures of a huge screen?

Looking back over these pictures, I have discovered some visual gold in my photographs of those huge screens.

For example, now my pictures come with their own captions. The moment captured is captioned by one of my favorite passages in President Barack Obama’s Inauguration speech (go here for the full text):

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].” [Emphasis mine]

There is some confusion about which capital and which father of our nation, but, turning my academic brain off, the power of those words still astounds. One of my beauties of this speech is how it seems to gracefully glide through eras in our history, weaving a convincing tapestry of American work and achievement.

I finally get what it is about this many that makes people so devoted–he speaks from and to the heart.

Inspirational Quote:

Bob Hope – “I love to go to Washington – if only to be near my money.”


  1. I believe the words were by Paine, but the question of when the “father of our country” ordered them read to the troops is an on going discussion. Thanks for your input–Thomas Paine is an impressive man.

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