a passport to freedom…

When was the last time you looked inside your passport (if you have one), and not just to see how terrible you look in your picture? Or perhaps you like to count how many stamps you have in it, proving that you’ve visited a certain number of countries? I have my “baby passport” still, from a trip that my parents never took, and I sure looked cute in that picture. I can’t say that for any other photo I have in a license or passport, since then.

Right before getting on the plane in Brisbane, I was expecting to need my passport, so while holding it ready, I began to look through it. And a few minutes later, when an official came by and told me I didn’t need it right then, I ignored him and kept reading. Because I had discovered that the back of this all-important booklet isn’t just blank pages. In fact, every page has a unique and beautiful design in the background, created to go along with a famous quote.

With the quotes starting back during the times of our Founding Fathers, I was pleased to find they had chosen so well (mostly), really giving you an idea of what our country is about. I don’t think I had heard the one by Daniel Webster before.

Of course, near the end, I thought the Native American quote was quite odd (why are we thanking the animals, again?), and the quote from Lyndon B. Johnson, while pretty, I’m still a bit iffy to its meaning. Was it just poetic, or is he speaking about using his Great Society to transform us?

And before anyone calls me on the spelling of the first quote, it was printed in the old-fashioned handwriting and spelling, as if to suggest that Francis Scott Key himself wrote it into the cover of my passport.

But overall, I found it to be a great representation of what this country was founded for, and what we believe in. We believe in freedom, and nobody’s going to take that away from us.

Since I don’t know the rules surrounding taking pictures of a passport (it’s probably not allowed), I won’t be including any. I thought that I’d just let the quotes speak for themselves. Starting on the front page…

“O say does that star-spangled banner yet wave, O’er the land of the free, and the home of the brave.” –Francis Scott Key, writer of “The Star-Spangled Banner”, the United States National Anthem

“…And the government of the people, by the people, and for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” –Abraham Lincoln

“The principle of free governments adheres to the American soil. It is bedded in it, immovable as its mountains.” –Daniel Webster

“Let us raise a standard to which the wise and honest can repair.”
–George Washington

“We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” –excerpt from the Declaration of Independence

“We have a great dream. It started way back in 1776, and God grant that America will be true to her dream.”
–Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty.” –John F. Kennedy

“This is a new nation, based on a mighty continent, of boundless possibilities.” –Theodore Roosevelt

“Whatever America hopes to bring to pass in the world, it must first come to pass in the heart of America.” –Dwight D. Eisenhower

“For this is what America is about. It is the uncrossed desert and the unclimbed ridge. It is the start that is not reached and the harvest sleeping in the unplowed ground. Is our world gone? We say “Farewell”. Is a new world coming? We welcome it — and we will bend it to the hopes of man.” –Lyndon B. Johnson

“May God continue the unity of our country as the railroad unites the two great oceans of the world.” –inscribed in the Golden Spike, Promontory Point, 1869

“We give thanks to all the Animal life in the world. They have many things to teach to us people. We are glad they are still here and we hope it will always be so.” excerpt from the Thanksgiving address, Mohawk version.

“The cause of freedom is not the cause of a race or a sect, a party or a class — it is the cause of humankind, the very birthright of humanity.” –Anna Julia Cooper

“Every generation has the obligation to free men’s minds for a look at new worlds… to look out from a higher plateau than the last generation.” –Ellison S. Onizuka
I would put that last quote into the quirky category, too, except the facing picture in the book was of a satellite and outer space, so maybe they just mean we should fund NASA some more, instead of taking care of the national debt. On the third and fourth reading, I’m still uncertain of Johnson’s quote, because the man was anything BUT poetic, and he did grow our government enormously. Perhaps that’s the new world he refers to?

I’m not sure which Thanksgiving address is coming from the Mohawks, because I didn’t think they were there with the Pilgrims. I sure hope that the animals will always be here, too, because otherwise we’ll go hungry. But rather than skip over the odd quotes, I wanted to show you the full range of quotes. I’d say “good job!” to whoever designed them, this time around.

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