At What Point Should We Expect the Approach of Danger? 

The April 24, 2017 post on WDW News Today is, “What is Happening to the Hall of Presidents at Magic Kingdom? Will Donald Trump Speak?

The post explains, “The Hall of Presidents at Walt Disney World closed for refurbishment over 3-months ago, with little to no announcement from Disney as to what changes were going to be made.  The 2016 Presidential election was a controversial one, and that was long before a winner had even been decided.  However, the real controversy now is if the current President of the United States will continue to be offered a speaking role in the attraction.”

Starting in the 1990’s, the current President of the United States was not only added to the attraction, but given a speaking role in it; it started with Bill Clinton, and continued through George W. Bush and Barack Obama.  Prior to this, speaking roles were limited to George Washington and Abraham Lincoln.

At the time of the post, the Hall of Presidents’ re-opening was still 2-months away, and while it is known that President Donald Trump will be added to the attraction, it is unknown if the tradition of having the current president make a brief speech during the attraction’s finale will continue, or if they’ll return to the prior tradition of having either George Washington or Abraham Lincoln make the finale’s speech, or if they’ll do something else.

I have a suggestion.  I recommend that they have Abraham Lincoln give the address he made to the Young Men’s Lyceum of Springfield, Illinois on January 27, 1838.  One of his earliest published speeches, the then 28-year old Lincoln’s “Lyceum Address,” is every bit as pertinent now as it was then.

The whole speech is worth the read.  However, I suspect that it is too long for both the attraction’s total run time, and for the rapidly diminishing attention span of most of today’s population.  That being the case, allow me to further recommend the following excerpt be used for Lincoln’s speech in the Hall of Presidents’ finale:

In the great journal of things happening under the sun, we, the American People, find our account running, under date of the nineteenth century of the Christian era.  We find ourselves in the peaceful possession, of the fairest portion of the earth, as regards extent of territory, fertility of soil, and salubrity of climate. We find ourselves under the government of a system of political institutions, conducing more essentially to the ends of civil and religious liberty, than any of which the history of former times tells us. We, when mounting the stage of existence, found ourselves the legal inheritors of these fundamental blessings. We toiled not in the acquirement or establishment of them–they are a legacy bequeathed us, by a once hardy, brave, and patriotic, but now lamented and departed race of ancestors. Their’s was the task (and nobly they performed it) to possess themselves, and through themselves, us, of this goodly land; and to uprear upon its hills and its valleys, a political edifice of liberty and equal rights; ’tis ours only, to transmit these, the former, unprofaned by the foot of an invader; the latter, undecayed by the lapse of time and untorn by usurpation, to the latest generation that fate shall permit the world to know. This task of gratitude to our fathers, justice to ourselves, duty to posterity, and love for our species in general, all imperatively require us faithfully to perform.

How then shall we perform it?  At what point shall we expect the approach of danger? By what means shall we fortify against it?  Shall we expect some transatlantic military giant, to step the Ocean, and crush us at a blow?  Never!  All the armies of Europe, Asia and Africa combined, with all the treasure of the earth (our own excepted) in their military chest; with a Buonaparte for a commander, could not by force, take a drink from the Ohio, or make a track on the Blue Ridge, in a trial of a thousand years.

At what point then is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer, if it ever reach us, it must spring up amongst us. It cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher.  As a nation of freemen, we must live through all time, or die by suicide.

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