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People Top 5
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- July 23, 2001
- Vol. 56
- No. 4
Something to Declare
Mel, Whoopi and a Host of Celebs Celebrate Life, Liberty and the Document That Announced America's Freedom
Last year Lear and a partner paid $8.14 million in an Internet auction for an original broadside of the Declaration—one of only 25 still in existence, all of which were printed in Philadelphia on July 4, 1776. On this July 4, the nation's 225th anniversary, he gathered an all-star cast in that city to perform a dramatic reading of the text before an estimated million onlookers. The event kicked off what Lear calls the Declaration of Independence Road Trip, in which the document will tour the country for at least three years, starting Sept. 14 at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif. Lear hopes the attention will encourage young people to vote. But he'd also be pleased if they learned to share his appreciation of Thomas Jefferson's way with words. "Anything that can live for these hundreds of years," Lear says, "has to be pretty good writing."
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