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On historic day, we recollect and rejoice

On historic day, we recollect and rejoice

Fewer than 60 people saw Thomas Jefferson defend and explain what he meant when he wrote that all men are created equal. Nearly a century later, one of this country's greatest presidents risked everything, including the young experiment called democracy, to genuinely act upon the task begun by Jefferson and others. His memorial in Washington, D.C., produced two more startling performances -- Marion Anderson singing the National Anthem in 1939 and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in the sweltering heat in August of 1963 encouraging all of us to have the shared dream.

Between those two dates, Jackie Robinson made his debut in April of 1947, breaking 60 years of segregation -- and not merely in baseball. About 26,000 fans saw him play that day, but when Commissioner Selig retired his number 42, 50 years later, all Americans knew his story. No other baseball player entering the Majors will ever wear No. 42. Baseball, and its fans, form a social institution entwined within this greatest of countries.

From a mere 60 folks in a small Philadelphia room in June 1776, to this day, January 20, 2009, with millions upon millions watching, we at MLB.com don't merely pause to watch and admire this young man swear his oath to the Constitution; we recollect, we remember and we rejoice.

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