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Oops! We Left Out 2 Words In The Declaration Of Independence

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And we extend apologies to Thomas Jefferson, the 13 original colonies and the rest of the United States of America.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Because on July 4, MORNING EDITION delivered our annual presentation of the Declaration of Independence. It was read by visitors to Washington, D.C., and a phrase was wrong. Just listen to this passage.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED BROADCAST)

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: And that as free and independent states, they have full power to levy war, conclude peace, construct alliance...

MONTAGNE: That's all correct, but we left off two words.

INSKEEP: The free and independent states also claim the power to establish commerce. We now correct the record.

MONTAGNE: The most impressive part of the episode is that sharp-eared listeners caught this omission fairly deep in our founding document. If we'd said, when in the course of events, many people would've caught it.

INSKEEP: We've been thinking of other famous documents that would of been different if you had lost a word. We the people in order to form a union.

MONTAGNE: Roughly fourscore years ago.

INSKEEP: And let's not even get started with modern speeches, such as, ask not what your country can do, or Mr. Gorbachev tear this wall.

MONTAGNE: That, many people would catch, but catching the missing commerce clause of the Declaration, that's true patriotism.

INSKEEP: It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Salute. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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