Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Don't forget!

The National Archives and Records Administration doesn't exist just to give archivists a job or help Americans find their ancestors, it serves a vital function ensuring the continuation of free speech by maintaining open and unencumbered access to public-domain, publicly-generated information.  It is truly a shame that so many members of NARA staff and most of the nation's citizens fail to recognize its central function.

Yes, our rights are always under threat.  That is why we built a temple on Pennsylvania Avenue to house and protect our primary legal documents - the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States.  We are a nation built on adherence to the principles laid down on those papers, our sacred papers, and we have a place for it - the National Archives. It is an entire Federal agency dedicated to preserving the memory of what we accomplished and ensuring the continuation of the one American tradition that crosses all cultural and economic bounds, freedom of expression.

It is an honor to work there.  It is an honor to serve there.  It is an honor to be able to research there, and that access to information is as close to a right as it can get.  It is an unchallenged precedent that the Citizens hold the right to have access to their collective history whenever they desire it.  Its a shame that some must be constantly reminded of this, as they spend most of the time worrying about their own futures.

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