Happy Birthday Freeways, Sweet Interstate Freeways
Remembering the graphlike beading of darkness,
I recall the ways that time once gave us–
distracted by signs for meals and clothing,
travelers, heavy with ourselves
– James Applewhite, from Interstate Highway
On this date in 1956, President Eisenhower signed into law the creation of the Interstate Highway System. As of 2004, the highway system had a glorious total length of 46,837 miles of freedom for America’s drivers.
O highway I travel! O public road! do you say to me, Do not leave me?
Do you say, Venture not? If you leave me, you are lost?
Do you say, I am already prepared—I am well-beaten and undenied—adhere to me?
O public road! I say back, I am not afraid to leave you—yet I love you;
You express me better than I can express myself;
You shall be more to me than my poem.
– Walt Whitman, “Song of the Open Road”