"For well over a century, the United States of America has played an important role in the international community. On Friday, God willing, I will have the honor of addressing the United Nations Organization, where I hope to encourage the efforts under way to make that institution an ever more effective voice for the legitmate aspirations of the world's peoples. On this, the sixtieth anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the need for global solidarity is as urgent as ever. If all people are to live in a way worthy of their dignity - as brothers and sisters dwelling in the same house and around that table which God's bounty has set for all his children. America has traditionally shown herself generous in meeting immediate human needs, fostering development and offering relief to the victims of natural catastrophes. I am confident that this concern for the greater human family will continue to find expression in support for the patient efforts of international diplomacy to resolve conflicts and promote progress. In this way, coming generations will be able to live in a world where truth, freedom and justice can flourish - a world where the God-given dignity and rights of every man, woman and child are cherished, protected and effectively advanced." That from the text of Pope Benedict's speech yesterday delivered at the White House before 10,000 invited guests.
The Pope was welcomed to the White House in grand fashion. Fife and Drum Corp of the U.S. Army performed in all of their uniformed greatness. Love the hats. The President tapped his heel as they played. The President's remarks began with a quote from St. Augustine, "Peace be with you." Kathleen Battle sang The Lord's Prayer. As the Pope began to speak, the crowd spontaneously broke out in Happy Birthday, acknowledging his 81st birthday.
The U.S. Army Chorus sang The Battle Hymn of the Republic. Kathleen Battle ended the ceremony by leading the crowd in Happy Birthday.
The weather was perfect.
The Popemobile is one pimped out ride. My son and I decided we'd like a spin in that vehicle. It is one of two and this one is a white Mercedes SUV, modified for his needs. It is bullet proof and bomb proof, too, a nod to our times.
The Pope met with the President before the ceremony. He didn't attend the dinner in his honor last night at the White House, or the one at the Italian embassy. His spokesman said the Pope rarely eats in public. He wanted to meet with his Bishops and did so.
Today he conducts Mass at National Stadium in D.C., the first non-sports event in the new stadium.
I'd like a ride.