FoxNews is reporting that a crowd of more than 13,500 people sang the happy birthday song to Pope Benedict this morning on the South Lawn of the White House. The article I read related that the lamposts around the South Lawn were "fluttering with the red, white and blue of America and the yellow and white of the Holy See."
Many Knights of Columbus were in attendance (I love their plumy, cavalier-style hats) as well as Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts and lots of civilians, many of whom couldn't fit inside the White House grounds and spilled over onto the streets outside. There was a twenty-one gun salute and soprano Kathleen Battle sang the Our Father with great feeling. I was able to hear that when Rush Limbaugh replayed it on his radio show this afternoon. It was lovely.
"Viva il Papa!" many people cheered, according to Fox. "God bless America!" the pope returned, smiling. I got to hear that on Sean Hannity's radio program when his show began at 3:00 p.m. It was also lovely, and hearing the Pope's kind voice.
From that same article: "We need your message to reject this dictatorship of relativism and embrace a culture of justice and truth," [President] Bush said in brief remarks welcoming Benedict to the White House. "In a world where some see freedom as simply the right to do as they wish, we need your message that true liberty requires us to live our freedom not just for ourselves, but in a spirit of mutual support."
Beautifully said, Mr. President. You are now completely forgiven for pronouncing the word "nuclear" as "nuke-you-ler."
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