Freedom Train

Saturday, July 7, AD 2012

Something for the weekend.  Freedom Train by Irving Berlin and sung by Bing Crosby and The Andrew Sisters.  In 1947 President Harry S. Truman commissioned a special train, staffed with United States Marines, to tour the country and display precious documents of American history to remind all Americans of their heritage.  The train’s cargo included:  the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights, one of the 13 original copies of the Constitution, the Emancipation Proclamation, one of Lincoln’s handwritten drafts of the Gettysburg Address, the large flag raised on Mount Suribachi by the US Marines on Iwo Jima, the German and Japanese surrender documents that ended World War II, and much more, including one of the originals of the Magna Carta.

The train toured the US for two years and was surrounded by throngs of visitors wherever it stopped.  It traveled 37,160 miles, stopping in 326 cities and towns.  Over three million Americans went on board the train, many waiting up to six hours to do so.  A second Freedom Train toured the country during the Bicentennial in 1975-1976.

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10 Responses to Freedom Train

  • Wish we could have a FREEDOM TRAIN now. FREEDOM TRAIN

  • I shudder to think how such a train would be curated under this administration.

  • Wow ! ::: “the Constitution, the Emancipation Proclamation, one of Lincoln’s handwritten drafts of the Gettysburg Address….”

    When I lived in D.C. we went down to the National Archives. Quite a day.

    Bringing these documents out to the people mattered !!

    Btw: the “vampire hunter” version of Lincoln is spot-on as can be. Slavery wasn’t an inch short of sucking blood from humans.

  • Clinton: I had the same thought. I would put only copies of real documents on the train, because they need to be seen and appreciated. In the old days, the Vatican transported the Pieta to Flushing Meadows, New York for the World’s Fair in 1962. The Times Building had copies of all the Sistine Chapel paintings of Michaelangelo that could be seen upclose. Since then, the Pieta has been attacked and must be seen under bullet proof glass. Larger than life COPIES of our founding principles could be easily read and even pamphlets with the Declaration of Independence and our Constitution might be available. Impersonators of Lincoln, Washington, Jefferson, Franklin, the film strips of the movies might be continuously shown. The Lincoln, Jefferson Memorial, pictures of the capitol, the Supreme Court in session. Boy is my age showing. Hey, some people will come for the show who otherwise might not. Civics 101. Perhaps a class credit might be givern to any student who attends. It is very exciting for people who may not be able to visit Philadelphia, Washington D.C. The Statue of Liberty. It is better for the children than condoms.

  • “Btw: the “vampire hunter” version of Lincoln is spot-on as can be. Slavery wasn’t an inch short of sucking blood from humans.”
    How current, the HHS mandate is sucking the life-blood from humans.

  • “I shudder to think how such a train would be curated under this administration.” Obama can get on the train or get off. Obama is becoming very irrelevant.

  • I remember the Bicentennial Freedom Train of 1976 because my family went to see it when it stopped in Peoria, Ill. It was very much like touring a museum on wheels. However, I had no idea until now that there was an earlier Freedom Train in the 1940s.

  • More fun facts about the later Freedom Train: Over 7 million Americans toured the Bicentennial (American) Freedom Train, which included not only historic artifacts such as the original Louisiana Purchase document, but cultural artifacts such as Judy Garland’s dress from “The Wizard of Oz,” Joe Frazier’s boxing trunks, Martin Luther King’s clerical robes, and a rock brought back from the moon by the Apollo astronauts!

  • We would benefit from a freedom train more than ever before!

  • Today’s version would be a “Worship Train” with copies of His Pomposity’s speeches, books and life-sized standup cutouts available for photo opportunities.

Fortnight For Freedom Day Ten: God Bless America!

Saturday, June 30, AD 2012




Beginning for two weeks, up to Independence Day, the Bishops are having a Fortnight For Freedom:

On April 12, the Ad Hoc Committee on Religious Liberty of the U.S.  Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) issued a document, “Our First,  Most Cherished Liberty,” outlining the bishops’ concerns over threats to religious freedom, both at home and abroad. The bishops called for a “Fortnight for Freedom,” a 14-day period of prayer, education and action in support of religious freedom, from June 21-July 4.


Bishops in their own dioceses are encouraged to arrange special events to  highlight the importance of defending religious freedom. Catholic  institutions are encouraged to do the same, especially in cooperation  with other Christians, Jews, people of other faiths and all who wish to  defend our most cherished freedom.


The fourteen days from June  21—the vigil of the Feasts of St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More—to  July 4, Independence Day, are dedicated to this “fortnight for  freedom”—a great hymn of prayer for our country. Our liturgical calendar celebrates a series of great martyrs who remained faithful in the face  of persecution by political power—St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More,  St. John the Baptist, SS. Peter and Paul, and the First Martyrs of the  Church of Rome.  Culminating on Independence Day, this special period of prayer, study, catechesis, and public action would emphasize both our  Christian and American heritage of liberty. Dioceses and parishes around the country could choose a date in that period for special events that  would constitute a great national campaign of teaching and witness for  religious liberty.


We here at The American Catholic are participating in the Fortnight For Freedom with special blog posts on each day.  This is the tenth of these blog posts.

Something for the weekend.  God Bless America sung by the imperishable Kate Smith.  This song became the rallying song for the United States during World War II.  Witten by Irving Berlin in 1918 while he was serving in the Army and revised by him in 1938, it was performed by Kate Smith on her radio show in 1938 and became an immediate hit, reaching unbelievable heights of popularity during World War II.  The song is a prayer to God, as the first stanza, rarely performed today, makes clear:

While the storm clouds gather far across the sea,

Let us swear allegiance to a land that’s free,

Let us all be grateful for a land so fair,

As we raise our voices in a solemn prayer.

God bless America,

Land that I love.

Stand beside her, and guide her

Through the night with a light from above.

From the mountains, to the prairies,

To the oceans, white with foam

God bless America, My home sweet home

God bless America, My home sweet home.

Few entertainers became so connected with one song as Kate Smith did with God Bless America.  A Protestant, Kate Smith attended Mass for years prior to her conversion to Catholicism.  In this Fortnight For Freedom we express our love for America and fervently beseech God to guide her.

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4 Responses to Fortnight For Freedom Day Ten: God Bless America!

  • It was good while it lasted.

    I remember freedom and the feeling that will never come back. The feeling that liberty would last forever, outlast the sea, the earth, and all men; the deceitful feeling that lured us to joys, to perils, to love, to vain effort – to death; the triumphant conviction of liberty, the heat of freedom in the handful of dust, the glow in the heart that with every year grew dim, grew cold, grew small, and expired – and expired, too soon, too soon – before life itself.

    Apologies to Joseph Conrad, 1857-1924, English writer, “Youth”

    Defend Freedom.

    Repeal Hell Care.

    Defeat Obama.

  • Fortnight For Freedom Day Ten: God Bless America!
    He does, He does. We have you, Donald McClarey.

  • If it were possible for me to do so after three decades of being an attorney, I would be blushing Mary!

God Bless America by Kate Smith

Sunday, July 4, AD 2010

Kathryn Elizabeth “Kate” Smith (May 1, 1907 – June 17, 1986) was an American singer, best known for her rendition of Irving Berlin‘s “God Bless America“. Smith had a radio, television, and recording career spanning five decades, reaching its pinnacle in the 1940s.

Smith was born in Greenville, Virginia. Her professional musical career began in 1930, when she was discovered by Columbia Records vice president Ted Collins, who became her longtime partner and manager. Collins put her on radio in 1931.  She appeared in 1932 in Hello Everybody!, with co-stars Randolph Scott and Sally Blane, and in the 1943 wartime movie This is the Army she sang “God Bless America”.

Late in the following video you’ll see a young Lt. Ronald Reagan make a cameo.  39 years later President Ronald Reagan awarded Kate Smith the Presidential Medal of Freedom America’s highest civilian honor.

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One Response to God Bless America by Kate Smith