Signs of the Times - Boyd Tinsley's Remarks at the Free Speech Monument Dedication
April 2006
First Amendment Monument Celebration: Boyd Tinsley's Remarks at the Free Speech Monument Dedication
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It's a great honor to be here today, as a musician and as a a member of the Board of Trustees.

The First Amendment, especially as it pertains to free speech is one of the cornerstones of what it means to be an American and what it means to be free. I think that it is such a bedrock principle of our way of life that it is easy for us to take it for granted. That is why I think this dedication, this monument ot free speech is such an important event.

One, because it is an every-day reminder of our constitutional right to express our ideas, our opinions, without fear of prosecution by the government. And I think it is very fitting that such a monument is erected here in Charlottesville, the home of one of the authors of the Bill of Rights, Thomas Jefferson.

As a musician I cherish the right--the First Amendment allows for true creative freedom. It allows for the freedom to write and play music that sometimes challenges the political and social status quo. Where would we be without the lyrics of Bob Dylan in the '60's that helped us through that turbulent time. His lyrics reflected the world that we lived in. Whether or not you agreed with them, it forced us to think, to debate, and to reflect. And in the way that music touches us, not just in the intellect but in the heart.

We must always be vigilant for attempts to infringe our free speech, whether in our music or in our everyday life. There have been attempts in the past--and they continue to this day. We have this great right enshrined in the first amendment but it is meaningless unless we as Americans exercise it and stand up to attempts to take it away.

Thank you.

(April 20, 2006)

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