A historic day in front of the building where America started – Pope Francis in Philadelphia
Photo credit: Ralf Weiser
I did not know what to expect when a good friend of mine invited me to join him and another friend of his out to see Pope Francis’s address in front of historic Independence Hall. I was really looking forward to being there for this trule special occasion. Kudos to Philly’s public transportation and police; the crowds were manageable even though there were huge amounts of people roaming the streets. The tickets we got were for the area immediately in front of where the Pope would speak. We were elated to be here and we got front row seats. How could this get any better?
Well, it certainly did. The program included speakers and performers leading up to the Pope’s speech who were truly remarkable. A tango dancing group performed a few awesome dances and one even had a female couple dancing. “Wow”, I thought to myself. Could this be a sign of a change?
After various speeches of public officials Pope Francis arrived with his motorcade. The spectators lining the streets went wild. He was led through Independence Hall and took his place in front of the lectern President Lincoln used in his Gettysburg address. His speech, which he held in Spanish, was truly historic. I really liked how he repeatedly emphasized that we have to include and love everyone worldwide. He also asserted that we represent “spheres” and how we have to guarantee that everyone can be a true human individual. Wow! To me, he provided another small sign that he his a truly unique and refreshing Pope came when he quoted a key sentence from the Declaration of Independence: “…that all men and women are created equal..”. Wow, he had included women.
This comes at a time of history in which our news are full of stories where people try to divide, spread hate, polarize, and in all want to single themselves out for selfish reasons. It is so refreshing to have the religious leader of the world who wants us to remain true individuals and yet collaborate and join in Faith whatever it may be. Wow. Folks, we have a truly special Pope who appears to try bringing people together. Most of all, he is providing hope that we can and will live in peace as long as we take the first step in living according to the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” What a historic day in historic Philadelphia. I am glad I had the incredible luck and fortune to be there.