Tuesday, October 25, 2005

A Rising Sun at UIS History Night

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Photo: David McCullough Signs 1776 (Mine)


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Photo: David McCullough at UIS in Springfield, IL 10.24.05

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Photo: Richard Norton Smith Talks to Daughter (Mine)

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Photo: Richard Norton Smith at UIS in Springfield, IL 10.24.05

David McCullough spoke at the University of Illinois at Springfield tonight - Monday, October 24, 2005. I must admit that I feel that I could listen to this fine historian, and author speak for days without interuption. Mr. McCullough is just that interesting! Unfortunately, Mr. McCullough spoke for just fifty two minutes perhaps cutting short his oratory by a few minutes due to a scratchy throat.

Several of those in the audience tonight stated that they feel that there is something special about the way Mr. McCullough brings historical figures to life - both in his written word, and in his oratory. It was a full house at Sangamon Auditorium tonight with two thousand attending. The price of admission was just ten dollars per ticket, quite a bargain for the opportunity to hear a nationally famous historian wax eloquant on the founding of this great nation of ours.

Sangamon Auditorium is located on the Campus of the University of Illinois at Springfield.

The David McCullough visit represents the first in a series of speaking engagements to be presented in coming years in Springfield, Illinois. The series is titled, The Jim Edgar Series.

Former Governor Jim Edgar initiated the evening by introducing Richard Norton Smith. Richard Norton Smith is the Director of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library, and Museum located in Springfield, Illinois. Richard Norton Smith in kind introduced David McCullough. David McCullough gave an impressive oratory centering on the year 1776, the title of his recently published book. His monologue made special emphasis upon George Washington. He ended his speech to a standing ovation.

My daughter who also attended, had notebook in hand, and jotted down many notes, and personal observations. I electronically recorded much of the Pulitzer Prize winning author's monologue. My daughter is writing a report as an extra credit project for her high school history class.

I encouraged my daughter to ask both David McCullough, and Richard Norton Smith a simple question which a historian, or a history buff would know how to answer.

Several years ago my daughter prepared a history report on George Washington as part of a school project. The impetus for the question she chose to ask Mr. McCullough, and Mr. Smith sprang from this history report. It was a question which was originally asked by a very famous diplomat, and inventor - a founding father.

Her question was, "Is the sun a rising sun, or is it a setting sun?".

My daughter asked each historian separately, and not in the presence of each other. Both David McCullough, and Richard Norton Smith seemed somewhat amused by the question, and both had the same answer. Each sees the sun as rising.

In case my readers are wondering what all this talk of rising versus setting sun refers to it is in reference to the question Benjamin Franklin had proffered. In the founding days of this nation Benjamin Franklin, while attending some of the first sessions of Congress would gaze upon George Washington's presidential chair. He noticed it was embellished with a rising/setting sun design. It isn't possible to tell if the sun is rising, or setting, but Benjamin Franklin was actually using the question as a means of expressing his concern over the fate of the just created United States. There was much squabling taking place in the first congress, and he felt it was enough to make anyone wonder if the sun was rising, or setting on this new nation - if this new nation had a future.

Some people still wonder about the future of this nation, and so my daughter asked both esteemed gentlemen her simple question. Both historians turn out to be optimistic about the fate of America. Despite all the challenges America faces I too believe we will create a better future for ourselves, and for those living in other nations.

1 comment:

Tom Fasano said...

I stumbled upon the David McCullough photo via Google. Thanks for posting it. By the way, my theory is that all blogs eventually wind down. Too much competition for our attention, I suppose.

email jp

  • jeromeprophet@gmail.com

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