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Robert Frost
Robert Frost

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Robert Frost Reads Poem at JFK's Inauguration
January 20, 1961

After the applause, Kennedy welcomed to the podium one of America's great poets, fellow New Englander Robert Frost. Frost had written a poem for the occasion called "Dedication." He approached the microphone, but blinded by the sun's glare on the snow-covered Capitol grounds, he was unable to read it. Thinking quickly, he instead recited "The Gift Outright," a poem he had written in 1942. It started:

"The land was ours before we were the land's.
She was our land more than a hundred years
Before we were her people. She was ours . . ."

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