Legal Hispanics Welcome
President Dwight D. Eisenhower, after his inauguration, was in the basement of the White House In search of meaningful artwork that he could display in the Oval Office. The painting he chose, baffled his entire staff at the time. President Eisenhower chose an unfinished painting of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, to hang outside the door of the Oval Office. The painting was unfinished because the artist had died before he could complete his work. Many of the figures in the painting were just sketched in, outlined or just left blank.
Why would President Eisenhower choose this painting to be the focal point of his Whitehouse administration? President Eisenhower felt the painting was a vivid reminder to all those who visited the Whitehouse that the work of Independence is never done. He felt that the signing of the Declaration must be done by each generation of Americans. The painting was inspirational in reminding visitors that we all have a role to play in America’s Independence and each one of us can place our own face in that painting. The American Dream is unfinished business.
As Hispanic Americans we can best help assimilate ourselves into this American culture of freedom and independence by placing ourselves into that scene in Philadelphia on that hot muggy day in 1776. There is no need to drop our own culture but there is a need for all of us to adopt the American culture as well.
There is another painting, this one located in the Rotunda of this beautiful building that should inspire all Hispanics. I’m sure many of you have passed it without giving it a second glance. This painting is one of Christopher Columbus planting a cross in the sand off Florida with his eyes raised upward toward heaven. Even though Christopher Columbus was Italian by birth he lived in Spain and worked for Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand of Spain. It was the Spanish who invested and supported Christopher Columbus. It was Spanish seamen who made the arduous trek across a vast unknown ocean.
Hispanics have played a vital role in the discovery of the New World, the birth of America and today in renewing the American dream to immigrants. The American dream is alive and well for all who want to paint themselves into that scene in Philadelphia of 1776.
Thank you. May God bless you and may God bless the United States of America.