Inauguration Day 1961

Stu Savory’s post this morning started with

44 years ago yesterday, John F. Kennedy was inaugaurated as president of the United States. JFK avoided WW3 (over Cuba) and went on to become the most-loved president of the USA. He was a Uniter and made everyone optimistic.

And Today in Literature’s newsletter read

Presidential Panegyrics
On this day in 1961 Robert Frost recited “The Gift Outright” at John F. Kennedy’s inauguration, initiating the short, exclusively Democratic tradition of Presidential panegyrics in America. Although Frost’s presentation stumbled, he eventually triumphed, and when thanking Kennedy afterwards for his moment he expressed a hope that it might be the beginning of something: “Poetry and power is the formula for another Augustan Age.

Robert Frost (1874-1963)

The Gift Outright

The land was ours before we were the land’s.
She was our land more than a hundred years
Before we were her people. She was ours
In Massachusetts, in Virginia,
But we were England’s, still colonials,
Possessing what we still were unpossessed by,
Possessed by what we now no more possessed.
Something we were withholding made us weak
Until we found out that it was ourselves
We were withholding from our land of living,
And forthwith found salvation in surrender.
Such as we were we gave ourselves outright
(The deed of gift was many deeds of war)
To the land vaguely realizing westward,
But still unstoried, artless, unenhanced,
Such as she was, such as she would become.

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