Tuesday, December 20, 2011

'Tis the Season

It's the time of year when many of our military members are not only missing their families but also the celebration of many holidays. For the deployed military members, they improvise holiday celebrations and share the spirit with each other and the peoples of many foreign lands.

The following picture is of Christmas in Thailand. Bang Pla, Thailand. Thai children greet Santa Claus upon his arrival at the Christmas party. SSG Nicolas Thomas, re-enlistment and training NCO, Co "A", 325th Sig Bn, 29th Sig Gp, 1st Sig Bde, portrays Santa. 20 Dec 1969.

This picture is from here.   To see more pictures of our military celebrating Christmas in various countries during numerous wars and conflicts visit: http://www.history.army.mil/html/reference/holidays/index.html

Amazon has Military Ornaments

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

In Memory of WWII

On this anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor, we should remember those who gave their lives in WWII. This video is a short synopsis of this time.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A New Link to Share with You

I have just discovered a new link that may be of interest to those interested in religious tolerance in American history. The George Washington Institute for Religious Freedom offers education aids for educators, students and researchers. The following is a letter Washington wrote to the Hebrew congregation of a synagogue in Newport, Rhode Island in 1790.


While I received with much satisfaction your address replete with expressions of esteem, I rejoice in the opportunity of assuring you that I shall always retain grateful remembrance of the cordial welcome I experienced on my visit to Newport from all classes of citizens. 

The reflection on the days of difficulty and danger which are past is rendered the more sweet from a consciousness that they are succeeded by days of uncommon prosperity and security.

If we have wisdom to make the best use of the advantages with which we are now favored, we cannot fail, under the just administration of a good government, to become a great and happy people.

The citizens of the United States of America have a right to applaud themselves for having given to mankind examples of an enlarged and liberal policy—a policy worthy of imitation. All possess alike liberty of conscience and immunities of citizenship.

It is now no more that toleration is spoken of as if it were the indulgence of one class of people that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights, for, happily, the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens in giving it on all occasions their effectual support.

It would be inconsistent with the frankness of my character not to avow that I am pleased with your favorable opinion of my administration and fervent wishes for my felicity. 

May the children of the stock of Abraham who dwell in this land continue to merit and enjoy the good will of the other inhabitants—while every one shall sit in safety under his own vine and fig tree and there shall be none to make him afraid. 

May the father of all mercies scatter light, and not darkness, upon our paths, and make us all in our several vocations useful here, and in His own due time and way everlastingly happy. 

G. Washington

Sunday, July 24, 2011

History and Food Preservation

My garden has been very productive this year and I've kept busy canning food to eat the next year. I was wondering about how my ancestors may have preserved food without the luxury of food processors, pressure canners and specially made jars and seals. The following article gives an insight to how they did it. There are also links to look at other articles concerning food in the medieval days.

Medieval Food Preservation

Facts and interesting information about Medieval Food and meals,
specifically, Medieval Food Preservation

Medieval Food Preservation
It was important for the Medieval people of the Middle Ages to preserve food in the summer to be eaten during during the winter months. Foods which could not be preserved were only eaten when they were in season. It was not economic to keep and feed animals during the winter so animals were slaughtered in the autumn. The meat during the Medieval times of the Middle Ages was preserved in salt. Some historians believe that pepper was also used in food preservation during the Medieval times of the Middle Ages, however pepper was even more expensive than salt that its use for such a purpose must have been extremely limited.

The use of Salt in Medieval Food Preservation
There were two methods of food preservation using salt as a preservative. Dry-salting where the meat or fish was buried in salt and brine-curing where meat was soaked in salt water. Each year households prepared tubs of a thick saline bath and undertook to preserve fresh meats for the coming winter. The problem was that any food preserved in salt had a constant salt taste. Methods were therefore introduced to disguise the salty taste. Spices form the East were added to cooking recipes. These spices included Pepper, Cinnamon, Cloves, Nutmeg, Ginger, Saffron, Cardamom, Coriander, Cumin, Garlic, Turmeric, Mace, Anise, Caraway and Mustard. Food was also served with a variety of sauces which also disguised the salt taste. Salted meats and fish were generally rinsed in several changes of liquid before they were added to a dish.

Methods and Techniques of Medieval Food Preservation - Pickling, Gelatine, Smoking
There were several other methods used during the process of Medieval food preservation:

Pickling - Pickling in a salt brine was the standard method of preserving meats and fish. Typical pickling agents included brine (high in salt) and vinegar

Gelatine - Jelly or gelatine was used for preserving cooked meat or fresh fish. Food may be preserved by cooking in a material, such as gelatine, that solidifies to form a gel. Some foods naturally form a protein gel when cooked such as eels

Smoked Food - Wood smoked food was a method use to preserve pork or fish

Drying - Most meats and fruit can be preserved through the drying process. Drying is also the normal means of preservation for cereal grains such as wheat, oats, barley and rye.

Candies - Fruits & nuts could be candied in order to prolong their life

Honey - Was used a preservative in mead

Principle of Medieval Food Preservation
The principle of food preservation was to treat food in such a way as to safely stop, or slow down, the spoilage of food. The preservation methods require the food to be sealed after treatment.

From: Medival Food Preservation. http://www.medieval-life-and-times.info/medieval-food/medieval-food-preservation.htm (accessed July 24, 2011).

Here's a short video on the history of food preservation:

Monday, July 4, 2011

Did You Know...

The Star Spangled Banner did not become the official national anthem for the United States until 1931? Read more here.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Youngest Female Performer on Billboard Hot 100

On April 27, 1963, Margaret Annemarie Battavio's very first single, "I Will Follow Him," reached #1 on the U.S. pop charts. With her 15th birthday only six weeks behind her, and three more years of high school ahead of her, the singer better known as Little Peggy March became the youngest female performer ever to top the Billboard Hot 100, but she'd never crack the top 10 again. Go here to see more information.

This Day in History. http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/high-school-freshman-little-peggy-march-earns-a-1-hit-with-quoti-will-follow-himquot (accessed April 27, 2011).

Friday, April 22, 2011

Looking at the Origins of a Few Easter Traditions

It's Easter season and one can hardly go into any store and not see the commercialization of the holiday. Let's take a quick look at the origin of the holiday and some of the traditions associated with it.

Go to this page for some interesting Easter trivia and a few activities for children.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Review--Too Close to the Sun by Curtis Roosevelt

I am way overdue giving you my opinion of the following book that I read by Franklin D. Roosevelt's grandson Curtis. I promise to be a little quicker about posting reviews in the future.

Too Close to the Sun: Growing Up in the Shadow of my Grandparents, Franklin and Eleanor by Curtis Roosevelt.

Curtis Roosevelt was the eldest grandson of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt. As a toddler his mother moved into the White House with Curtis and his sister Anna. For much of FDR’s time as President, Curtis called the White House home.

Curtis went on to paint a picture of a privileged childhood during the lean years of the Great Depression the country was going through. Curtis and his Anna were nicknamed Buzzie and Sistie. They became celebrities and crowds often called out to them when they appeared in public. Life on the surface appeared to be grand for the children but their lives were lived in a fishbowl. They must have good manners at all times, they must not get dirty and they were frequently left with servants and denied many of the pleasures of a "normal" childhood. Curtis did love to spend time with his grandfather. He loved his grandmother but he did not paint her as an affectionate person but rather as someone to be on guard around. FDR and Eleanor offered the only stability in the children’s lives while their mother divorced their father and moved away for a time without the children and then reentered their lives, married for the 2nd time (after the book has ended, she married a 3rd time) and had a third child. Numerous times in the book, Mr. Curtis Roosevelt comments on the unhappiness of his childhood.

When I began reading this book, I expected a more in depth look at the time. What the reality is, this book is more of a childhood memoir. I should have realized that what Curtis wrote about occurred during his childhood and what he wrote of has some distortion due to his age at the time the events occurred and also because of the many years that have passed. My opinion of Eleanor has gone down somewhat after reading this book. For some reason, maybe because of her dowdy appearance, I expected her to be a more hands on, affectionate motherly-type person. In case you’re wondering, Curtis’s original surname was not Roosevelt—his middle name was. As result of his mother’s and grandmother’s influence, he dropped his original surname of Dall.

Would I recommend this book? Depends. I would not recommend it to someone wanting to learn about the lean years of the Great Depression and World War II because there are merely superficial glimpses of those times in this book. However, I would recommend it to anyone who has children in the public’s eye. This book paints a vivid picture of a dysfunctional family. Maybe I shouldn’t have had such high expectations from this book—I paid $1 for it at a Dollar Tree store.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

"Going Green" --A New Idea???

I received the following in an email and it brought back memories to me of some practices in my childhood although I don't remember beer bottles being returned because I wasn't around many beer drinkers back then either. Enjoy...

In the line at the store, the cashier told the older woman that plastic bags
weren't good for the environment. The woman apologized to her and explained,
"We didn't have the green thing back in my day."

That's right, they didn't have the green thing in her day. Back then,
they returned their milk bottles, Coke bottles and beer bottles to the
store. The store sent them back to the plant to be washed and sterilized and
refilled, using the same bottles over and over. So they really were recycled......
But they didn't have the green thing back her day.

In her day, they walked up stairs, because they didn't have an
escalator in every store and office building. They walked to the grocery
store and didn't climb into a 300-horsepower machine every time they had to go two blocks.
But she's right. They didn't have the green thing in her day.

Back then, they washed the baby's diapers because they didn't have the
throw-away kind. They dried clothes on a line, not in an energy gobbling machine
burning up 220 volts - wind and solar power really did dry the clothes.
Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always
brand-new clothing. But that old lady is right, they didn't have the green thing back in her

Back then, they had one TV, or radio, in the house - not a TV in every room.
And the TV had a small screen the size of a pizza dish, not a screen
the size of the state of Montana . In the kitchen, they blended and stirred
by hand because they didn't have electric machines to do everything for you.
When they packaged a fragile item to send in the mail, they used wadded up
newspaper to cushion it, not Styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap.

Back then, they didn't fire up an engine and burn gasoline just to cut the
lawn. They used a push mower that ran on human power. They exercised by working
so they didn't need to go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate
on electricity. But she's right, they didn't have the green thing back then.
They drank from a fountain when they were thirsty, instead of using a cup or
A plastic bottle every time they had a drink of water. They refilled
pens with ink, instead of buying a new pen, and they replaced the razor
blades in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got

Back then, people took the streetcar and kids rode their bikes to
school or rode the school bus, instead of turning their moms into a 24-hour
taxi service. They had one electrical outlet in a room, not an entire bank of sockets to
power a dozen appliances. And they didn't need a computerized gadget to receive a signal beamed from
satellites 2,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest pizza joint.

But that old lady is right...........
They didn't have the green thing back in her day.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Fashion Predictions from the 1930s for the Year 2000

Here is an interesting look at what fashion designers in the 1930s thought fashions would look like in the year 2000.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Census 2010 for Radcliff, KY

Seems our town of Radcliff, Kentucky is disgruntled with the Census results. Our population is lower than anticipated. Hmmm, could it be from all the people who refused to return their forms, refused to answer their doors and the Census enumerator had to rely on information obtained from a neighbor on the THIRD visit? Then after the enumerator went those 3 times, quality assurance personnel attempted to confirm these results sometimes 3 additional times without luck and once again had to rely on a neighbor for the information. These non-responding folks cost the government a chunk of change that didn't need to be spent and have deprived their town from funding and now blame is being placed on the Census Bureau. The census is important requirement placed on Americans. Many funds given by the federal government depend on population levels so if everyone isn't counted, then the amount of funding is at a lower level or possibly in some cases non-existent. 

Click the above picture to enlarge

Consensus of The News Enterprise editorial board. "Radcliff justified in census challenge." The News Enterprise, March 31, 2011: A6.

The census has been guided by authorizing legislation since 1790. Through the mid-nineteenth century, this legislation was very detailed: it listed questions to be asked and gave detailed instructions to the enumerators. Although the Secretary of State was the nominal national head of the early censuses, almost all of the work for the count was done on the state and local level by federal marshals. The lack of national leadership meant that census acts had to be very specific; it was the only way the federal government could assure that the marshals would return standardized information.
As census operations became more centralized and federalized in the latter part of the nineteenth century, legislation relating to the census became less detailed. Instead, it directed broad categories of questions to be asked, and left the actual design of census questionnaires up to the superintendent of the census.
The modern Census Bureau has been shaped by two pieces of twentieth century legislation: the 1902 legislation that made the Census Office a permanent agency and the 1954 legislation that combined the existing laws governing the Census Bureau's statistical programs and codified them in Title 13. Title 13 is the section of U.S. Code that governs Census Bureau activities to this day.
History. http://www.census.gov/history/www/reference/legislation/ (accessed April 01, 2011).

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

More on Unit 731

After the previous post on Unit 731, I found these videos. They give a more detailed look at what happened and a more insightful look at some of the personalities involved such as the mastermind Shiro Ishii . Virtually all the reading I have done about Japan's involvement in WWII, Japan denies any wrong doing and this is another example of the Japanese government's denial and refusal to take responsibility and offer a simple apology to the victims and their families. With the tragedy that has recently happened to the Japanese people, it is important that we are able to separate the Japanese people from the Japanese government and show the true spirit of the American people and offer aid and comfort to them.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Unit 731--WWII POWs Dissected Alive by Japanese

Most of us have heard of the scientific experiments done on Jews and POWs by Germany during WWII. Less well known are similar experiments done by the Japanese. See the following 2 part video that takes a look at the atrocities that were committed and learn of the cover-up by the United States.

Here is an article that you may be interested in. This is the article that piqued my interest in Unit 731.

The National Archives also has information on this that offers an extensive look at Japanese war crimes.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Japan--Mother Nature Out of Control...

Parts of Japan have become devastated by earthquakes and tsunamis. I am proud to be an American when I hear about Americans donating to the relief fund to help out the Japanese people. Too bad that Japan has never paid reparations to the Americans they used as slave labor in World War II. We will help you despite the fact that you have abused our people for your own profit. Shows the difference in our characters doesn't it?

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Battle of the Java Sea Draws to End 01 March 1942

I wrote my college thesis on the experiences of the crew of the USS Houston while POWs. They were heroes in every sense of the word. May they never be forgotten.

Search Amazon.com for battle of the java sea

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Telephone Evolution in this Blogger's Lifetime...

I've had a hard time deciding what I want to call Tuesday's posts. I have decided that I wouldn't worry about having a broad and generic title but what I will do is take a look at something old and something new. Sometimes I will write a short post and sometimes I may just post pictures. I hope you enjoy your visit here and come again. 

Click the cartoon to make bigger

Today, we were finally able to update our home phone system. We now have phone service through the cable company. It is somehow connected to our home computer and this service required a new cable modem that is about 4 times larger than the old one. I was thinking that as a person born in the late 50s, I've seen quite a bit of changes in telephones. From dial phones to push button, analog to digital, bulky box phones to miniature cell phones. Today is a look at a few phone styles I've seen.

One of my grandmothers had a phone like this although it was a bit dated at the time.

This was a common style I remember from the 1950s, 60s and 70s.

Here's a wall version that no kitchen in the 1950s, 60s and 70s was without.

Some people even had phones in their bedrooms and the 
"Princess Phone" was a popular model.

Then the push button phones became popular and besides models similar to the above but with pushbuttons, other novelty phone designs were becoming popular.

Alf telephone of the 1980s

It started to become commonplace to have call waiting,caller id, call forwarding, and conference calls. Now there are even households that do not have home phone service but exclusively use cellphones. Society is changing and it is virtually impossible to get away from ringing telephones unless you have a musical ring tone or turn the phone off. Phones also store numbers so with one button you can call someone. Let's not forget speaker phone technology too. I think most of us know that it would be hard to post a picture of a representative phone of 2011 because between cellphones and home phones there are phones that connect you to the Internet, have applications that allow you to remotely start your car, watch television and a plethora of other activities too numerous to accurately list.

A cell phone of the 2010s

  A home phone of the 2010s

Go here to read more about telephone history.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

We've Come a Long Way...

Stoves ca 1900--my paternal grandparents were children when these stoves were the latest thing to cook on in American kitchens!


Stoves 2011

Maytag MGT8775XB Double Oven Gas RANGE-LOWER Convect

Friday, February 11, 2011

Coming Soon, a Review of "Too Close to the Sun"

Only a few more pages to read in Too Close to the Sun:Growing Up in the Shadow of my Grandparents by Curtis Roosevelt. It has been an interesting read and I'm really looking forward to the end. Stay tuned, I'll do a review of this book in a few days...

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Everytime It's Groundhog Day...

Every year on Groundhog Day, I don't think about the weather, ok maybe a little bit, but rather I remember  my paternal grandfather--Gilford Ackley French. This would have been his birthday today. He was born on 02 February 1888--you know you are getting old when you can say that your grandfather was born the century before last! Even though he's been gone since the 1960s, can you imagine the changes he saw during his lifetime such as automobiles, indoor plumbing, television--heck, radios were a big to-do back in the day. So, what I want to say is "Happy Birthday Grandpa."

Here's a couple of pics of him:


Tuesday, February 1, 2011

A Few Little Things About Genealogy...

I used to be hot and heavy in to genealogy. This was prior to public access to the Internet. I had written to distant relatives on my sons' family and mine. Many folks were considerate enough to write down family lines for me. I was so excited to receive this information! Unfortunately, not all people are as accurate in their information as we may wish. I was able to see a "family tree" that someone in my sons' family had written up for their big family reunion. WOW, that was great; great until I started reading it and realized that my sons were given my former husband's 2nd wife as their mother. That's not right,  I was there when they were born (ha ha)! Often, as I looked at old census records I noticed that many of the first names I was given for relatives were NICKNAMES and not "legal" first names. So, what I am trying to say, if one does research or documenting of historic topics, it is best to be accurate. If you are responsible for giving information for an obituary, it is nice to mention special people that aren't blood relatives, but for researchers using the obituary years down the road it is not reasonable to know that the "daughter" or "son" mentioned is actually a very special friend with no familial relationship. I have pulled out my research because one of my sons has an interest. I only have his paternal line back 4 or 5 generations and we're set to try and go back farther. I have learned the hard way to document my sources and if something doesn't sound right to me then I will also make notes on that. Who knows, maybe one of my descendants 100 years from now may pick up my notes and expand on what I've done.

Tuesday is Vintage Ads vs Modern Ads Day (02-01-2011)

Old Car Ad


New Car Ad

Monday, January 31, 2011

Eleanor Roosevelt--My Impression of Her May Be Tarnishing

Interesting to note how fashions changed in E.R's lifetime 

I have always admired Eleanor Roosevelt. She was the help-mate of her husband, President Franklin D. Roosevelt and supermom. The changing impression I'm having of her parenting style comes from the book I'm currently reading "Too Close to the Sun:Growing Up in the Shadow of my Grandparents" by her grandson Curtis Roosevelt. Mr. Curtis Roosevelt mentions numerous times in the beginning chapters that his grandmother was a very distant person, and then he repeats over and over about the kindness and love of his "Grandmere" Eleanor. Curtis is the son of the Roosevelts' daughter Anna. After his parents separated, Curtis's mother moved her small brood into the White House.  Curtis was not born with the Roosevelt surname. He dropped his father's surname (Dall) and began using "Roosevelt" after being encouraged by his mother and Eleanor to do so. This book is an easy-read and very riveting for a memoir. I'll be talking more about this later; I need to get back to reading...

Thursday, January 27, 2011

State of the Union Address 2011

For those of you who maybe missed the President's State of the Union Address or would like to go back to review what he said, I have posted it here for you. Might be interesting to save a copy and go back over it before the elections next year. I found it here. This is a page in the White House's official site. You may want to visit this site for more, in depth information.

The White House
Office of the Press Secretary

Remarks by the President in State of Union Address

United States Capitol, Washington, D.C.

9:12 P.M. EST
      THE PRESIDENT:  Mr. Speaker, Mr. Vice President, members of Congress, distinguished guests, and fellow Americans:
      Tonight I want to begin by congratulating the men and women of the 112th Congress, as well as your new Speaker, John Boehner.  (Applause.)  And as we mark this occasion, we’re also mindful of the empty chair in this chamber, and we pray for the health of our colleague -- and our friend -– Gabby Giffords.  (Applause.)
      It’s no secret that those of us here tonight have had our differences over the last two years.  The debates have been contentious; we have fought fiercely for our beliefs.  And that’s a good thing.  That’s what a robust democracy demands.  That’s what helps set us apart as a nation.
      But there’s a reason the tragedy in Tucson gave us pause. Amid all the noise and passion and rancor of our public debate, Tucson reminded us that no matter who we are or where we come from, each of us is a part of something greater -– something more consequential than party or political preference.
      We are part of the American family.  We believe that in a country where every race and faith and point of view can be found, we are still bound together as one people; that we share common hopes and a common creed; that the dreams of a little girl in Tucson are not so different than those of our own children, and that they all deserve the chance to be fulfilled.
      That, too, is what sets us apart as a nation.  (Applause.)
      Now, by itself, this simple recognition won’t usher in a new era of cooperation.  What comes of this moment is up to us.  What comes of this moment will be determined not by whether we can sit together tonight, but whether we can work together tomorrow.  (Applause.)
      I believe we can.  And I believe we must.  That’s what the people who sent us here expect of us.  With their votes, they’ve determined that governing will now be a shared responsibility between parties.  New laws will only pass with support from Democrats and Republicans.  We will move forward together, or not at all -– for the challenges we face are bigger than party, and bigger than politics.
      At stake right now is not who wins the next election -– after all, we just had an election.  At stake is whether new jobs and industries take root in this country, or somewhere else.  It’s whether the hard work and industry of our people is rewarded.  It’s whether we sustain the leadership that has made America not just a place on a map, but the light to the world.
      We are poised for progress.  Two years after the worst recession most of us have ever known, the stock market has come roaring back.  Corporate profits are up.  The economy is growing again.
      But we have never measured progress by these yardsticks alone.  We measure progress by the success of our people.  By the jobs they can find and the quality of life those jobs offer.  By the prospects of a small business owner who dreams of turning a good idea into a thriving enterprise.  By the opportunities for a better life that we pass on to our children.
      That’s the project the American people want us to work on. Together.  (Applause.)
      We did that in December.  Thanks to the tax cuts we passed, Americans’ paychecks are a little bigger today.  Every business can write off the full cost of new investments that they make this year.  And these steps, taken by Democrats and Republicans, will grow the economy and add to the more than one million private sector jobs created last year.
      But we have to do more.  These steps we’ve taken over the last two years may have broken the back of this recession, but to win the future, we’ll need to take on challenges that have been decades in the making.
      Many people watching tonight can probably remember a time when finding a good job meant showing up at a nearby factory or a business downtown.  You didn’t always need a degree, and your competition was pretty much limited to your neighbors.  If you worked hard, chances are you’d have a job for life, with a decent paycheck and good benefits and the occasional promotion.  Maybe you’d even have the pride of seeing your kids work at the same company.
      That world has changed.  And for many, the change has been painful.  I’ve seen it in the shuttered windows of once booming factories, and the vacant storefronts on once busy Main Streets. I’ve heard it in the frustrations of Americans who’ve seen their paychecks dwindle or their jobs disappear -– proud men and women who feel like the rules have been changed in the middle of the game.
      They’re right.  The rules have changed.  In a single generation, revolutions in technology have transformed the way we live, work and do business.  Steel mills that once needed 1,000 workers can now do the same work with 100.  Today, just about any company can set up shop, hire workers, and sell their products wherever there’s an Internet connection.
      Meanwhile, nations like China and India realized that with some changes of their own, they could compete in this new world. And so they started educating their children earlier and longer, with greater emphasis on math and science.  They’re investing in research and new technologies.  Just recently, China became the home to the world’s largest private solar research facility, and the world’s fastest computer.
      So, yes, the world has changed.  The competition for jobs is real.  But this shouldn’t discourage us.  It should challenge us. Remember -– for all the hits we’ve taken these last few years, for all the naysayers predicting our decline, America still has the largest, most prosperous economy in the world.  (Applause.)  No workers -- no workers are more productive than ours.  No country has more successful companies, or grants more patents to inventors and entrepreneurs.  We’re the home to the world’s best colleges and universities, where more students come to study than any place on Earth.
      What’s more, we are the first nation to be founded for the sake of an idea -– the idea that each of us deserves the chance to shape our own destiny.  That’s why centuries of pioneers and immigrants have risked everything to come here.  It’s why our students don’t just memorize equations, but answer questions like “What do you think of that idea?  What would you change about the world?  What do you want to be when you grow up?”
      The future is ours to win.  But to get there, we can’t just stand still.  As Robert Kennedy told us, “The future is not a gift.  It is an achievement.”  Sustaining the American Dream has never been about standing pat.  It has required each generation to sacrifice, and struggle, and meet the demands of a new age.

      And now it’s our turn.  We know what it takes to compete for the jobs and industries of our time.  We need to out-innovate, out-educate, and out-build the rest of the world.  (Applause.)  We have to make America the best place on Earth to do business.  We need to take responsibility for our deficit and reform our government.  That’s how our people will prosper.  That’s how we’ll win the future.  (Applause.)  And tonight, I’d like to talk about how we get there.
      The first step in winning the future is encouraging American innovation.  None of us can predict with certainty what the next big industry will be or where the new jobs will come from.  Thirty years ago, we couldn’t know that something called the Internet would lead to an economic revolution.  What we can do -- what America does better than anyone else -- is spark the creativity and imagination of our people.  We’re the nation that put cars in driveways and computers in offices; the nation of Edison and the Wright brothers; of Google and Facebook.  In America, innovation doesn’t just change our lives.  It is how we make our living.  (Applause.)

      Our free enterprise system is what drives innovation.  But because it’s not always profitable for companies to invest in basic research, throughout our history, our government has provided cutting-edge scientists and inventors with the support that they need.  That’s what planted the seeds for the Internet.  That’s what helped make possible things like computer chips and GPS.  Just think of all the good jobs -- from manufacturing to retail -- that have come from these breakthroughs.
      Half a century ago, when the Soviets beat us into space with the launch of a satellite called Sputnik, we had no idea how we would beat them to the moon.  The science wasn’t even there yet.  NASA didn’t exist.  But after investing in better research and education, we didn’t just surpass the Soviets; we unleashed a wave of innovation that created new industries and millions of new jobs.
      This is our generation’s Sputnik moment.  Two years ago, I said that we needed to reach a level of research and development we haven’t seen since the height of the Space Race.  And in a few weeks, I will be sending a budget to Congress that helps us meet that goal.  We’ll invest in biomedical research, information technology, and especially clean energy technology -– (applause) -- an investment that will strengthen our security, protect our planet, and create countless new jobs for our people.
      Already, we’re seeing the promise of renewable energy.  Robert and Gary Allen are brothers who run a small Michigan roofing company.  After September 11th, they volunteered their best roofers to help repair the Pentagon.  But half of their factory went unused, and the recession hit them hard.  Today, with the help of a government loan, that empty space is being used to manufacture solar shingles that are being sold all across the country.  In Robert’s words, “We reinvented ourselves.”
      That’s what Americans have done for over 200 years: reinvented ourselves.  And to spur on more success stories like the Allen Brothers, we’ve begun to reinvent our energy policy. We’re not just handing out money.  We’re issuing a challenge.  We’re telling America’s scientists and engineers that if they assemble teams of the best minds in their fields, and focus on the hardest problems in clean energy, we’ll fund the Apollo projects of our time.
      At the California Institute of Technology, they’re developing a way to turn sunlight and water into fuel for our cars.  At Oak Ridge National Laboratory, they’re using supercomputers to get a lot more power out of our nuclear facilities.  With more research and incentives, we can break our dependence on oil with biofuels, and become the first country to have a million electric vehicles on the road by 2015.  (Applause.)
      We need to get behind this innovation.  And to help pay for it, I’m asking Congress to eliminate the billions in taxpayer dollars we currently give to oil companies.  (Applause.)  I don’t know if -- I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but they’re doing just fine on their own.  (Laughter.)  So instead of subsidizing yesterday’s energy, let’s invest in tomorrow’s.
      Now, clean energy breakthroughs will only translate into clean energy jobs if businesses know there will be a market for what they’re selling.  So tonight, I challenge you to join me in setting a new goal:  By 2035, 80 percent of America’s electricity will come from clean energy sources.  (Applause.)
      Some folks want wind and solar.  Others want nuclear, clean coal and natural gas.  To meet this goal, we will need them all -- and I urge Democrats and Republicans to work together to make it happen.  (Applause.)
      Maintaining our leadership in research and technology is crucial to America’s success.  But if we want to win the future -– if we want innovation to produce jobs in America and not overseas -– then we also have to win the race to educate our kids.
      Think about it.  Over the next 10 years, nearly half of all new jobs will require education that goes beyond a high school education.  And yet, as many as a quarter of our students aren’t even finishing high school.  The quality of our math and science education lags behind many other nations.  America has fallen to ninth in the proportion of young people with a college degree.  And so the question is whether all of us –- as citizens, and as parents –- are willing to do what’s necessary to give every child a chance to succeed.
      That responsibility begins not in our classrooms, but in our homes and communities.  It’s family that first instills the love of learning in a child.  Only parents can make sure the TV is turned off and homework gets done.  We need to teach our kids that it’s not just the winner of the Super Bowl who deserves to be celebrated, but the winner of the science fair.  (Applause.)  We need to teach them that success is not a function of fame or PR, but of hard work and discipline.
      Our schools share this responsibility.  When a child walks into a classroom, it should be a place of high expectations and high performance.  But too many schools don’t meet this test. That’s why instead of just pouring money into a system that’s not working, we launched a competition called Race to the Top.  To all 50 states, we said, “If you show us the most innovative plans to improve teacher quality and student achievement, we’ll show you the money.”
      Race to the Top is the most meaningful reform of our public schools in a generation.  For less than 1 percent of what we spend on education each year, it has led over 40 states to raise their standards for teaching and learning.  And these standards were developed, by the way, not by Washington, but by Republican and Democratic governors throughout the country.  And Race to the Top should be the approach we follow this year as we replace No Child Left Behind with a law that’s more flexible and focused on what’s best for our kids.  (Applause.)
      You see, we know what’s possible from our children when reform isn’t just a top-down mandate, but the work of local teachers and principals, school boards and communities.  Take a school like Bruce Randolph in Denver.  Three years ago, it was rated one of the worst schools in Colorado -- located on turf between two rival gangs.  But last May, 97 percent of the seniors received their diploma.  Most will be the first in their families to go to college.  And after the first year of the school’s transformation, the principal who made it possible wiped away tears when a student said, “Thank you, Ms. Waters, for showing that we are smart and we can make it.”  (Applause.)  That’s what good schools can do, and we want good schools all across the country.
      Let’s also remember that after parents, the biggest impact on a child’s success comes from the man or woman at the front of the classroom.  In South Korea, teachers are known as “nation builders.”  Here in America, it’s time we treated the people who educate our children with the same level of respect.  (Applause.)  We want to reward good teachers and stop making excuses for bad ones.  (Applause.)  And over the next 10 years, with so many baby boomers retiring from our classrooms, we want to prepare 100,000 new teachers in the fields of science and technology and engineering and math.  (Applause.)
      In fact, to every young person listening tonight who’s contemplating their career choice:  If you want to make a difference in the life of our nation; if you want to make a difference in the life of a child -- become a teacher.  Your country needs you.  (Applause.)
      Of course, the education race doesn’t end with a high school diploma.  To compete, higher education must be within the reach of every American.  (Applause.)  That’s why we’ve ended the unwarranted taxpayer subsidies that went to banks, and used the savings to make college affordable for millions of students.  (Applause.)  And this year, I ask Congress to go further, and make permanent our tuition tax credit –- worth $10,000 for four years of college.  It’s the right thing to do.  (Applause.)
      Because people need to be able to train for new jobs and careers in today’s fast-changing economy, we’re also revitalizing America’s community colleges.  Last month, I saw the promise of these schools at Forsyth Tech in North Carolina.  Many of the students there used to work in the surrounding factories that have since left town.  One mother of two, a woman named Kathy Proctor, had worked in the furniture industry since she was 18 years old.  And she told me she’s earning her degree in biotechnology now, at 55 years old, not just because the furniture jobs are gone, but because she wants to inspire her children to pursue their dreams, too.  As Kathy said, “I hope it tells them to never give up.”
      If we take these steps -– if we raise expectations for every child, and give them the best possible chance at an education, from the day they are born until the last job they take –- we will reach the goal that I set two years ago:  By the end of the decade, America will once again have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world.  (Applause.)
      One last point about education.  Today, there are hundreds of thousands of students excelling in our schools who are not American citizens.  Some are the children of undocumented workers, who had nothing to do with the actions of their parents. They grew up as Americans and pledge allegiance to our flag, and yet they live every day with the threat of deportation.  Others come here from abroad to study in our colleges and universities.  But as soon as they obtain advanced degrees, we send them back home to compete against us.  It makes no sense.
      Now, I strongly believe that we should take on, once and for all, the issue of illegal immigration.  And I am prepared to work with Republicans and Democrats to protect our borders, enforce our laws and address the millions of undocumented workers who are now living in the shadows.  (Applause.)  I know that debate will be difficult.  I know it will take time.  But tonight, let’s agree to make that effort.  And let’s stop expelling talented, responsible young people who could be staffing our research labs or starting a new business, who could be further enriching this nation.  (Applause.)
      The third step in winning the future is rebuilding America.  To attract new businesses to our shores, we need the fastest, most reliable ways to move people, goods, and information -- from high-speed rail to high-speed Internet.  (Applause.)
      Our infrastructure used to be the best, but our lead has slipped.  South Korean homes now have greater Internet access than we do.  Countries in Europe and Russia invest more in their roads and railways than we do.  China is building faster trains and newer airports.  Meanwhile, when our own engineers graded our nation’s infrastructure, they gave us a “D.”
      We have to do better.  America is the nation that built the transcontinental railroad, brought electricity to rural communities, constructed the Interstate Highway System.  The jobs created by these projects didn’t just come from laying down track or pavement.  They came from businesses that opened near a town’s new train station or the new off-ramp.
      So over the last two years, we’ve begun rebuilding for the 21st century, a project that has meant thousands of good jobs for the hard-hit construction industry.  And tonight, I’m proposing that we redouble those efforts.  (Applause.)
      We’ll put more Americans to work repairing crumbling roads and bridges.  We’ll make sure this is fully paid for, attract private investment, and pick projects based [on] what’s best for the economy, not politicians.
      Within 25 years, our goal is to give 80 percent of Americans access to high-speed rail.  (Applause.)  This could allow you to go places in half the time it takes to travel by car.  For some trips, it will be faster than flying –- without the pat-down.  (Laughter and applause.)  As we speak, routes in California and the Midwest are already underway.
      Within the next five years, we’ll make it possible for businesses to deploy the next generation of high-speed wireless coverage to 98 percent of all Americans.  This isn’t just about -- (applause) -- this isn’t about faster Internet or fewer dropped calls.  It’s about connecting every part of America to the digital age.  It’s about a rural community in Iowa or Alabama where farmers and small business owners will be able to sell their products all over the world.  It’s about a firefighter who can download the design of a burning building onto a handheld device; a student who can take classes with a digital textbook; or a patient who can have face-to-face video chats with her doctor.
      All these investments -– in innovation, education, and infrastructure –- will make America a better place to do business and create jobs.  But to help our companies compete, we also have to knock down barriers that stand in the way of their success.
      For example, over the years, a parade of lobbyists has rigged the tax code to benefit particular companies and industries.  Those with accountants or lawyers to work the system can end up paying no taxes at all.  But all the rest are hit with one of the highest corporate tax rates in the world.  It makes no sense, and it has to change.  (Applause.)
      So tonight, I’m asking Democrats and Republicans to simplify the system.  Get rid of the loopholes.  Level the playing field.  And use the savings to lower the corporate tax rate for the first time in 25 years –- without adding to our deficit.  It can be done.  (Applause.)
      To help businesses sell more products abroad, we set a goal of doubling our exports by 2014 -– because the more we export, the more jobs we create here at home.  Already, our exports are up.  Recently, we signed agreements with India and China that will support more than 250,000 jobs here in the United States.  And last month, we finalized a trade agreement with South Korea that will support at least 70,000 American jobs.  This agreement has unprecedented support from business and labor, Democrats and Republicans -- and I ask this Congress to pass it as soon as possible.  (Applause.)
      Now, before I took office, I made it clear that we would enforce our trade agreements, and that I would only sign deals that keep faith with American workers and promote American jobs.  That’s what we did with Korea, and that’s what I intend to do as we pursue agreements with Panama and Colombia and continue our Asia Pacific and global trade talks.  (Applause.)
      To reduce barriers to growth and investment, I’ve ordered a review of government regulations.  When we find rules that put an unnecessary burden on businesses, we will fix them.  (Applause.)  But I will not hesitate to create or enforce common-sense safeguards to protect the American people.  (Applause.)  That’s what we’ve done in this country for more than a century.  It’s why our food is safe to eat, our water is safe to drink, and our air is safe to breathe.  It’s why we have speed limits and child labor laws.  It’s why last year, we put in place consumer protections against hidden fees and penalties by credit card companies and new rules to prevent another financial crisis.  (Applause.)  And it’s why we passed reform that finally prevents the health insurance industry from exploiting patients.  (Applause.)
      Now, I have heard rumors that a few of you still have concerns about our new health care law.  (Laughter.)  So let me be the first to say that anything can be improved.  If you have ideas about how to improve this law by making care better or more affordable, I am eager to work with you.  We can start right now by correcting a flaw in the legislation that has placed an unnecessary bookkeeping burden on small businesses.  (Applause.)
      What I’m not willing to do -- what I’m not willing to do is go back to the days when insurance companies could deny someone coverage because of a preexisting condition.  (Applause.)
      I’m not willing to tell James Howard, a brain cancer patient from Texas, that his treatment might not be covered.  I’m not willing to tell Jim Houser, a small business man from Oregon, that he has to go back to paying $5,000 more to cover his employees.  As we speak, this law is making prescription drugs cheaper for seniors and giving uninsured students a chance to stay on their patients’ -- parents’ coverage.  (Applause.)
      So I say to this chamber tonight, instead of re-fighting the battles of the last two years, let’s fix what needs fixing and let’s move forward.  (Applause.)
      Now, the final critical step in winning the future is to make sure we aren’t buried under a mountain of debt.
      We are living with a legacy of deficit spending that began almost a decade ago.  And in the wake of the financial crisis, some of that was necessary to keep credit flowing, save jobs, and put money in people’s pockets.
      But now that the worst of the recession is over, we have to confront the fact that our government spends more than it takes in.  That is not sustainable.  Every day, families sacrifice to live within their means.  They deserve a government that does the same.
      So tonight, I am proposing that starting this year, we freeze annual domestic spending for the next five years.  (Applause.)  Now, this would reduce the deficit by more than $400 billion over the next decade, and will bring discretionary spending to the lowest share of our economy since Dwight Eisenhower was President.
      This freeze will require painful cuts.  Already, we’ve frozen the salaries of hardworking federal employees for the next two years.  I’ve proposed cuts to things I care deeply about, like community action programs.  The Secretary of Defense has also agreed to cut tens of billions of dollars in spending that he and his generals believe our military can do without.  (Applause.)
      I recognize that some in this chamber have already proposed deeper cuts, and I’m willing to eliminate whatever we can honestly afford to do without.  But let’s make sure that we’re not doing it on the backs of our most vulnerable citizens.  (Applause.)  And let’s make sure that what we’re cutting is really excess weight.  Cutting the deficit by gutting our investments in innovation and education is like lightening an overloaded airplane by removing its engine.  It may make you feel like you’re flying high at first, but it won’t take long before you feel the impact.  (Laughter.)
      Now, most of the cuts and savings I’ve proposed only address annual domestic spending, which represents a little more than 12 percent of our budget.  To make further progress, we have to stop pretending that cutting this kind of spending alone will be enough.  It won’t.  (Applause.)
      The bipartisan fiscal commission I created last year made this crystal clear.  I don’t agree with all their proposals, but they made important progress.  And their conclusion is that the only way to tackle our deficit is to cut excessive spending wherever we find it –- in domestic spending, defense spending, health care spending, and spending through tax breaks and loopholes.  (Applause.)
      This means further reducing health care costs, including programs like Medicare and Medicaid, which are the single biggest contributor to our long-term deficit.  The health insurance law we passed last year will slow these rising costs, which is part of the reason that nonpartisan economists have said that repealing the health care law would add a quarter of a trillion dollars to our deficit.  Still, I’m willing to look at other ideas to bring down costs, including one that Republicans suggested last year -- medical malpractice reform to rein in frivolous lawsuits.  (Applause.)
      To put us on solid ground, we should also find a bipartisan solution to strengthen Social Security for future generations.  (Applause.)  We must do it without putting at risk current retirees, the most vulnerable, or people with disabilities; without slashing benefits for future generations; and without subjecting Americans’ guaranteed retirement income to the whims of the stock market.  (Applause.)
      And if we truly care about our deficit, we simply can’t afford a permanent extension of the tax cuts for the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans.  (Applause.)  Before we take money away from our schools or scholarships away from our students, we should ask millionaires to give up their tax break.  It’s not a matter of punishing their success.  It’s about promoting America’s success.  (Applause.)
      In fact, the best thing we could do on taxes for all Americans is to simplify the individual tax code.  (Applause.)  This will be a tough job, but members of both parties have expressed an interest in doing this, and I am prepared to join them.  (Applause.)
      So now is the time to act.  Now is the time for both sides and both houses of Congress –- Democrats and Republicans -– to forge a principled compromise that gets the job done.  If we make the hard choices now to rein in our deficits, we can make the investments we need to win the future.
      Let me take this one step further.  We shouldn’t just give our people a government that’s more affordable.  We should give them a government that’s more competent and more efficient.  We can’t win the future with a government of the past.  (Applause.)
      We live and do business in the Information Age, but the last major reorganization of the government happened in the age of black-and-white TV.  There are 12 different agencies that deal with exports.  There are at least five different agencies that deal with housing policy.  Then there’s my favorite example:  The Interior Department is in charge of salmon while they’re in fresh water, but the Commerce Department handles them when they’re in saltwater.  (Laughter.)  I hear it gets even more complicated once they’re smoked.  (Laughter and applause.)
      Now, we’ve made great strides over the last two years in using technology and getting rid of waste.  Veterans can now download their electronic medical records with a click of the mouse.  We’re selling acres of federal office space that hasn’t been used in years, and we’ll cut through red tape to get rid of more.  But we need to think bigger.  In the coming months, my administration will develop a proposal to merge, consolidate, and reorganize the federal government in a way that best serves the goal of a more competitive America.  I will submit that proposal to Congress for a vote –- and we will push to get it passed.  (Applause.)
      In the coming year, we’ll also work to rebuild people’s faith in the institution of government.  Because you deserve to know exactly how and where your tax dollars are being spent, you’ll be able to go to a website and get that information for the very first time in history.  Because you deserve to know when your elected officials are meeting with lobbyists, I ask Congress to do what the White House has already done -- put that information online.  And because the American people deserve to know that special interests aren’t larding up legislation with pet projects, both parties in Congress should know this:  If a bill comes to my desk with earmarks inside, I will veto it.  I will veto it.  (Applause.)
      The 21st century government that’s open and competent.  A government that lives within its means.  An economy that’s driven by new skills and new ideas.  Our success in this new and changing world will require reform, responsibility, and innovation.  It will also require us to approach that world with a new level of engagement in our foreign affairs.
      Just as jobs and businesses can now race across borders, so can new threats and new challenges.  No single wall separates East and West.  No one rival superpower is aligned against us.
      And so we must defeat determined enemies, wherever they are, and build coalitions that cut across lines of region and race and religion.  And America’s moral example must always shine for all who yearn for freedom and justice and dignity.  And because we’ve begun this work, tonight we can say that American leadership has been renewed and America’s standing has been restored.
      Look to Iraq, where nearly 100,000 of our brave men and women have left with their heads held high.  (Applause.)  American combat patrols have ended, violence is down, and a new government has been formed.  This year, our civilians will forge a lasting partnership with the Iraqi people, while we finish the job of bringing our troops out of Iraq.  America’s commitment has been kept.  The Iraq war is coming to an end.  (Applause.)
      Of course, as we speak, al Qaeda and their affiliates continue to plan attacks against us.  Thanks to our intelligence and law enforcement professionals, we’re disrupting plots and securing our cities and skies.  And as extremists try to inspire acts of violence within our borders, we are responding with the strength of our communities, with respect for the rule of law, and with the conviction that American Muslims are a part of our American family.  (Applause.)    
      We’ve also taken the fight to al Qaeda and their allies abroad.  In Afghanistan, our troops have taken Taliban strongholds and trained Afghan security forces.  Our purpose is clear:  By preventing the Taliban from reestablishing a stranglehold over the Afghan people, we will deny al Qaeda the safe haven that served as a launching pad for 9/11.
      Thanks to our heroic troops and civilians, fewer Afghans are under the control of the insurgency.  There will be tough fighting ahead, and the Afghan government will need to deliver better governance.  But we are strengthening the capacity of the Afghan people and building an enduring partnership with them.  This year, we will work with nearly 50 countries to begin a transition to an Afghan lead.  And this July, we will begin to bring our troops home.  (Applause.)
      In Pakistan, al Qaeda’s leadership is under more pressure than at any point since 2001.  Their leaders and operatives are being removed from the battlefield.  Their safe havens are shrinking.  And we’ve sent a message from the Afghan border to the Arabian Peninsula to all parts of the globe:  We will not relent, we will not waver, and we will defeat you.  (Applause.)
      American leadership can also be seen in the effort to secure the worst weapons of war.  Because Republicans and Democrats approved the New START treaty, far fewer nuclear weapons and launchers will be deployed.  Because we rallied the world, nuclear materials are being locked down on every continent so they never fall into the hands of terrorists.  (Applause.)
      Because of a diplomatic effort to insist that Iran meet its obligations, the Iranian government now faces tougher sanctions, tighter sanctions than ever before.  And on the Korean Peninsula, we stand with our ally South Korea, and insist that North Korea keeps its commitment to abandon nuclear weapons.  (Applause.)
      This is just a part of how we’re shaping a world that favors peace and prosperity.  With our European allies, we revitalized NATO and increased our cooperation on everything from counterterrorism to missile defense.  We’ve reset our relationship with Russia, strengthened Asian alliances, built new partnerships with nations like India.
      This March, I will travel to Brazil, Chile, and El Salvador to forge new alliances across the Americas.  Around the globe, we’re standing with those who take responsibility -– helping farmers grow more food, supporting doctors who care for the sick, and combating the corruption that can rot a society and rob people of opportunity.
      Recent events have shown us that what sets us apart must not just be our power -– it must also be the purpose behind it.  In south Sudan -– with our assistance -– the people were finally able to vote for independence after years of war.  (Applause.)  Thousands lined up before dawn.  People danced in the streets.  One man who lost four of his brothers at war summed up the scene around him:  “This was a battlefield for most of my life,” he said.  “Now we want to be free.”  (Applause.)
      And we saw that same desire to be free in Tunisia, where the will of the people proved more powerful than the writ of a dictator.  And tonight, let us be clear:  The United States of America stands with the people of Tunisia, and supports the democratic aspirations of all people.  (Applause.)
      We must never forget that the things we’ve struggled for, and fought for, live in the hearts of people everywhere.  And we must always remember that the Americans who have borne the greatest burden in this struggle are the men and women who serve our country.  (Applause.)
      Tonight, let us speak with one voice in reaffirming that our nation is united in support of our troops and their families.  Let us serve them as well as they’ve served us -- by giving them the equipment they need, by providing them with the care and benefits that they have earned, and by enlisting our veterans in the great task of building our own nation.
      Our troops come from every corner of this country -– they’re black, white, Latino, Asian, Native American.  They are Christian and Hindu, Jewish and Muslim.  And, yes, we know that some of them are gay.  Starting this year, no American will be forbidden from serving the country they love because of who they love.  (Applause.)  And with that change, I call on all our college campuses to open their doors to our military recruiters and ROTC.  It is time to leave behind the divisive battles of the past.  It is time to move forward as one nation.  (Applause.)
      We should have no illusions about the work ahead of us. Reforming our schools, changing the way we use energy, reducing our deficit –- none of this will be easy.  All of it will take time.  And it will be harder because we will argue about everything.  The costs.  The details.  The letter of every law.
      Of course, some countries don’t have this problem.  If the central government wants a railroad, they build a railroad, no matter how many homes get bulldozed.  If they don’t want a bad story in the newspaper, it doesn’t get written.
      And yet, as contentious and frustrating and messy as our democracy can sometimes be, I know there isn’t a person here who would trade places with any other nation on Earth.  (Applause.)
      We may have differences in policy, but we all believe in the rights enshrined in our Constitution.  We may have different opinions, but we believe in the same promise that says this is a place where you can make it if you try.  We may have different backgrounds, but we believe in the same dream that says this is a country where anything is possible.  No matter who you are.  No matter where you come from.
      That dream is why I can stand here before you tonight.  That dream is why a working-class kid from Scranton can sit behind me.  (Laughter and applause.)  That dream is why someone who began by sweeping the floors of his father’s Cincinnati bar can preside as Speaker of the House in the greatest nation on Earth.  (Applause.)
      That dream -– that American Dream -– is what drove the Allen Brothers to reinvent their roofing company for a new era.  It’s what drove those students at Forsyth Tech to learn a new skill and work towards the future.  And that dream is the story of a small business owner named Brandon Fisher.
      Brandon started a company in Berlin, Pennsylvania, that specializes in a new kind of drilling technology.  And one day last summer, he saw the news that halfway across the world, 33 men were trapped in a Chilean mine, and no one knew how to save them.
      But Brandon thought his company could help.  And so he designed a rescue that would come to be known as Plan B.  His employees worked around the clock to manufacture the necessary drilling equipment.  And Brandon left for Chile.
      Along with others, he began drilling a 2,000-foot hole into the ground, working three- or four-hour -- three or four days at a time without any sleep.  Thirty-seven days later, Plan B succeeded, and the miners were rescued.  (Applause.)  But because he didn’t want all of the attention, Brandon wasn’t there when the miners emerged.  He’d already gone back home, back to work on his next project.
      And later, one of his employees said of the rescue, “We proved that Center Rock is a little company, but we do big things.”  (Applause.)
      We do big things.
      From the earliest days of our founding, America has been the story of ordinary people who dare to dream.  That’s how we win the future.
      We’re a nation that says, “I might not have a lot of money, but I have this great idea for a new company.”  “I might not come from a family of college graduates, but I will be the first to get my degree.”  “I might not know those people in trouble, but I think I can help them, and I need to try.”  “I’m not sure how we’ll reach that better place beyond the horizon, but I know we’ll get there.  I know we will.”
      We do big things.  (Applause.)
      The idea of America endures.  Our destiny remains our choice.  And tonight, more than two centuries later, it’s because of our people that our future is hopeful, our journey goes forward, and the state of our union is strong.
      Thank you.  God bless you, and may God bless the United States of America.  (Applause.)
                        END           10:13 P.M. EST