Ten years ago, I was the speechwriter for the Acting Secretary of the Air Force, the Honorable Michael Dominguez. And ten years ago today, on 4 July 2005, he spoke on behalf of then-President George W. Bush at the “Let Freedom Ring” event in Philadelphia.
During the ceremony, Mr. Dominguez was among the first to ring the “Normandy Liberty Bell,” a replica of our Liberty Bell commissioned by Frenchman Patrick Daudon for the 60th anniversary of the D-Day landing. The Philadelphia ceremony was the first time the bell was brought to the U.S. (As seen below, it is now on display at the National World War II Museum in New Orleans.)
(The Normandy Liberty Bell. Photo by Susannah Clary, on Flickr under Creative Commons.)
Mr. Dominguez spoke only briefly, and it was the first and only time one of the people I wrote for was directly representing — essentially, standing in for — the President. For the sake of my own sense of nostalgia, and to mark this Independence Day, here’s an excerpt from the remarks we prepared:
Whenever and wherever freedom rings, the world must take note.
The world took note when the Allies stood together against tyranny and aggression in two world wars.
The world took note of the Civil Rights and Women’s Suffrage movements, when we extended the self-evident truths of the Declaration — that we are all created equal — to those who had been treated unequally for so long.
The world took note when Afghani and Iraqi citizens voted in free elections.
And in the future, as freedom continues to ring through all nations, tribes, and tongues, the world will continue to take note.
I didn’t attend the event, so I don’t know if Mr. Dominguez actually used the prepared remarks — we learn quickly as speechwriters that what we prepare is often a guide and sometimes just a suggestion! And while the words are not stirring enough to go down in the annals of oratory history, I think they were at least fitting for the occasion.
And for this occasion, I can only add: Happy Fourth of July! And thank-you to all of our troops serving at home and abroad, ensuring that we as a people remain free and independent.by