Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Lesson 160: America the Beautiful

Happy Two Hundred Thirty-Six, America!  I just got back from camping.  I'm bug bitten, tired, hot, but as always,very proud to be an American on my country's birthday.  I'm donning my cut offs and (somewhat dirty) God Bless America tank top, heading out to a picnic with friends and family.  Here is a photo story of some people I love in the Land that I Love, set to America the Beautiful by country music stars, Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert (aka, Mrs. Blake Shelton).

Special Note to my American Followers:  Here's your history brush up.   Please read and review.

Special Note for my Slovenian Followers:  Today the USA celebrates the day we told King George III of England to stuff it.  We wanted to break free.  Be independent.  Time to live by our own rules.  Honestly, it is the greatest story in all of American History.  If you can find a translation to Slovene, please read about it.  You'll read about:

George Washington:  (he's easy--he's on our buck, moolah, legal tender, slowly devaluing, now a "federal reserve note") ..and once, in an effort to look more modern (thinner) I cut my hair, and it looked just like this.  Really.  Chalked that mistake up to Postpartum Depression.

John Adams:  Our second president who happened to die on the Fourth of July.
A painted portrait of a man with greying hair, looking left.

Samuel Adams:  Not a president, but considered one of the America's Founding Fathers.
A stern middle-aged man with gray hair is wearing a dark red suit. He is standing behind a table, holding a rolled up document in one hand, and pointing with the other hand to a large document on the table.

We didn't put him on the dollar, but we found him important enough to name a beer after.

Thomas Jefferson:  smart, smart, smart, many talented man, who happened to die on the Fourth of July, the very same day as John Adams.  Crazy.
Portrait of Thomas Jefferson by Rembrandt Peale.

Paul Revere (love the guy):  The British are coming, the British are coming!  (Actually we're going to Britain in a few weeks for the Olympics, which is proof that time heals all wounds).

Here is my favorite Paul Revere story synopsis written by some Wikipedia contributor.  It is by far, my favorite to act out when I teach this to my students.  When I get done telling it to the little ones, usually the first graders, someone whispers, "Is that true?"  "Y-E-S!" I spell out for them.  "Wow!" said one toothless little wonder,  "seems too good to be true."

Here it is in brief, but I encourage you to read more accounts, and also a little more about William Dawes, who was also a rider but did not have the same dynamic personality that Revere had.  This illustrates that sometimes it isn't just the message you need to communicate well, but you also have to send the right messenger.

From Wikipedia:  Between 9 and 10 p.m. on the night of April 18, 1775, Joseph Warren told Revere and William Dawes that the king's troops were about to embark in boats from Boston bound for Cambridge and the road to Lexington and Concord. Warren's intelligence suggested that the most likely objectives of the regulars' movements later that night would be the capture of Adams and Hancock. They did not worry about the possibility of regulars marching to Concord, since the supplies at Concord were safe, but they did think their leaders in Lexington were unaware of the potential danger that night. Revere and Dawes were sent out to warn them and to alert colonial militias in nearby towns.[34][35]
In the days before April 18, Revere had instructed Robert Newman, the sexton of the North Church, to send a signal by lantern to alert colonists in Charlestown as to the movements of the troops when the information became known. In what is well known today by the phrase "one if by land, two if by sea", one lantern in the steeple would signal the army's choice of the land route while two lanterns would signal the route "by water" across the Charles River.[36] Revere first gave instructions to send the signal to Charlestown. He then crossed the Charles River by rowboat, slipping past the British warshipHMS Somerset at anchor. Crossings were banned at that hour, but Revere safely landed in Charlestown and rode to Lexington, avoiding a British patrol and later warning almost every house along the route. The Charlestown colonists dispatched additional riders to the north.[35][37]

John Hancock:  (he's more famous for his signature than his portrait):
The handwriting of John Hancock's stylish signature, which slants slightly to the right, is firm and legible. The final letter loops back to underline his name in a flourish.

Ben Franklin:  (My personal favorite--no he wasn't a president but he was good at just about everything else--including witty one liners, which is why I like him so much)

Guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days.
Benjamin Franklin


Thomas Paine--he wrote Common Sense, earning the true title of Father of the American Revolution, also illustrating the power of the pen.  You go, Tommy!

Slovenians, these are just a few of the great people who had a hand in founding my country.  They fought.  They squabbled.  Some took their disagreements to their death.  Maybe Jefferson and Adams are still battling it out in heaven given they got to the gates on the same day.  I hope this inspires you to keep working on your relatively new government, just since the 1990's.  Keep at it.  We've been at it for over 236 years now.  Health Care reform this week has much of our country talking.  Foreign Policy.  Public schools.  Gay marriage.  Just a few more tough topics we're talking about arguing over (just keeping it real).  It's not easy, but it's worth it.  Freedom.  Those 7 letters are enough to motivate anyone.

And since many of you Slovenians probably have not been to the US, I feel somewhat responsible to give you a fair picture of my great country.  It's huge and full of people of all kinds.  The above photo story shows just the Great Lakes Region that I am from.  I have a better cross section of my people and our land  for you to see.

Scroll down to the next post for my new favorite Fourth of July song by Dierks Bentley.  It's currently #26 on the Country Charts, but it should climb a little further if it circulates with this post.

God bless America!

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