"Sanctuary" was penned in honor of the National Park Service Centennial by Cape Cod National Seashore Ranger Jenna B. Sammartino. Musical composer David Cohen was commissioned to create a composition of the same name that blended words and music. The piece was performed by the Cape Symphony Orchestra as the finale in a celebratory concert on August 25, 2016.
On August 25, 1916 these words were written into history: "Be it enacted by…the United States of America in Congress assembled, that there is hereby created… the National Park Service…[It] shall promote and regulate the use of the Federal areas known as national parks, monuments, and reservations… which purpose is to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wild life therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the same… as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations."
Distill these words, extract their essence, and they become a single declaration –of Sanctuary. A statement proclaiming, that as a nation, we will:
And to this day, Sanctuary is what our national parks afford –
Today we celebrate our national parks, and the vision behind them. And we celebrate our park: Cape Cod National Seashore –a place that embodies the very heart of the national parks ideal. Here, we are custodians of history, caretakers of nature. Here, truly, is a place of Sanctuary.
Yes, this is a "place" –with enough unique and compelling components to warrant its status as a jewel in the crown of the national park system.
But the people who come here, the people who live here… do not describe this place by physical attributes alone. Because Cape Cod is much more than a place. It is a feeling. It is Sanctuary.
This is what our national parks offer. This is why they are beloved, not just by citizens of our own country, but by the world. This is why we now turn, all of us together, toward the next hundred years. Because it is not enough to simply appreciate our national parks;we must all accept the honor of responsibility for them. With gratitude for those who shepherded the parks through their first century, and with consideration for the generations to come, we must all exercise stewardship in the most active sense of the word.
Because these places… they crack our hearts wide open, and they heal us… all at once.
NPS/Jenna B. Sammartino