Paste your document hereWhy Will This Forgotten Speech By Obama Be Remembered By Generations?
Our generation grew up by learning Mark Anthony's speech and Lincoln's Gettysburg address. While the Roman General's speech, the mob turning power of which convinced and fascinated generations, was the fictional creation of a genius, a two minutes speech actually delivered by Abraham Lincoln mesmerised a divided nation changing its history and continue to influence its psyche for centuries.
Once again a president of the USA has delivered a great speech pushing the right buttons of American emotions, which appeals equally to the people of the United Kingdom, who share a special partnership and similar values with the US and whose losses were only second to those of their compatriots. In fact the speech captivates everyone who believes in freedom, democratic values and equality.
In the run up to the US elections and heating up of the American political debate it is not surprising that the 9/11 Memorial commemoration speech by President Obama is already forgotten, judging from the lukewarm reactions and thin media attention it has received. However anyone who heard it or read it will definitely agree that it is a great speech made of sterner and enduring stuff which goes to the hearts of not just the Americans but the rest of the world as well and will be remembered and quoted for generations to come. There are compelling reasons for this optimism, least of which is that the 9/11Memorial itself is bound to become a destination for pilgrimage of a different kind.
One of the strong reasons why the commemoration speech by President Obama will endure the test of time is because, like the two unforgettable speeches, the underlying subject is the human grief for the loss of loved ones, taken away abruptly and unjustifiably.
More importantly, like the two famous speeches which were delivered at the sites or occasion of the death, the 9/11 Memorial commemoration was an event physically reminding everyone of the terrible loss.
In fact, the tragedy of 9/11 is much more powerful and poignant an event that very little is needed to stir up the strongest of human emotions. That, time has little, if any impact in healing the wounds and assuaging the pain was evident at the scene of the remembrance, with uncontrollable expressions of emotions and swelling tears with each name being called out.
Despite such out pouring, the collective pent up emotions of the nation needed words of solace and support to calm down. President Obama's commemoration speech would have been missed for eternity if it was not delivered. It was indispensable. Words of comfort, reassurance and reasons to be proud were the need of the hour and Obama delivered them To his great credit the president has risen to the occasion and no doubt delivered a great speech of comfort and said just the right things with great healing power.
"Our character as a nation has not changed. Our faith - in God and each other - that has not changed. Our belief in America, born of a timeless ideal that men and women should govern themselves; that all people are created equal, and deserve the same freedom to determine their own destiny - that belief, through tests and trials, has only been strengthened."
"Decades from now, Americans will visit the memorials to those who were lost on 9/11. They will run their fingers over the places where the names of those we loved are carved into marble and stone, and they may wonder at the lives they led. And they will know that nothing can break the will of a truly United States of America ."
Surely words of self confidence and national pride echoing the speech of Abraham Lincoln which was delivered centuries ago with the purpose to unite and heal. New yardstics by which the American dream will be measured at every anniversary of the 9/11 tragedy, for centuries to come. How can they be forgotten as long as the memorial lasts and anniversaries not remembered?
The president had equally inspiring words of assurance and invitation for the outside world, especially for the parts where the seeds of democracy have started to sprout from the cracks of suspicion and mistrust and nurture in gentle breeze of freedom.
"The United States will never wage war against Islam or any religion."
"They will be reminded that we are not perfect, but our democracy is durable, and that democracy also gives us the opportunity to perfect our union. That is what we honor, those aspects of the American experience that are enduring, and the determination to move forward as one people."
"Our strength is not measured in our ability to stay in these places; it comes from our commitment to leave those lands to free people and sovereign states, and our desire to move from a decade of war to a future of peace."
Though the 9/11Memorial commemoration and Concert for Hope in which the speech was delivered are miles apart, together they have become one powerful and permanent reminder of human freedom, constantly reminding us wherever we are and will remain so for ages to come.
Follow Sreedhar Pillai on Twitter: www.twitter.com/lastingrose