On the weekend of June 7 my Honey and I went to Cookeville, TN, to observe the move in 1809 of one of her ancestors over the mountains from Virginia to the White Plains area of Tennessee. He was William Pennington Quarles, a lieutenant in the Revolutionary War. His daughter married a Burton, so my darling wife was a descendant of both genealogical lines.
There were reunion activities, patriotic celebrations, and a visit to the Quarles home, where Andrew Jackson was guest on his travels to Washington. There were program elements from the D.A.R. (Look at my Honey’s pin), the S.A.R., The Jamestown Society, The Order of Descendants of Ancient Planters, and the Sons of Confederate Veterans.
More happened than I can tell you now. But one element in that celebration was a reciting of The American’s Creed, which was very impressive to me. Here’s the background.
William Tyler Page (1868 – October 19, 1942), was best known for his authorship of the American’s Creed. He was born in Frederick, Maryland, a descendant of Carter Braxton, a signer of the Declaration of Independence; and of the tenth U.S. President John Tyler.
In 1919 Page was elected Clerk of the House of Representatives, and later Emeritus Minority Clerk, a post he maintained for the remainder of his life. He was highly respected by members of both major parties throughout his service, as a principled gentleman whose patriotism was inspirational and whose love of America was unquestioned.
In 1917 at age 49, Page wrote the American’s Creed as a submission to a nationwide patriotic contest, the goal of which was to have a concise but complete statement of American political faith. Drawing on a wide variety of historical documents and speeches, including the Declaration of Independence, the Preamble to the U.S. Constitution, Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, and others, he crafted a simple yet profoundly moving expression of American patriotism.
His submission was chosen above more than 3000 others. On April 3, 1918 it was accepted by the U.S. House of Representatives, on behalf of the American people. Today it also often comprises part of the Naturalization Ceremony for new Americans. I invite you to join me in reciting it.
I believe in the United States of America as a government of the people, by the people, for the people; whose just powers are derived from the consent of the governed; a democracy in a republic; a sovereign nation of many sovereign States; a perfect union, one and inseparable; established upon those principles of freedom, equality, justice and humanity, for which American patriots sacrificed their lives and fortunes.
I therefore believe it is my duty to my country to love it; to support its Constitution; to obey its laws; to respect its flag; and to defend it against all enemies.
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