Here are 2 paragraphs every American should know by heart- The preamble to our Constitution, and the preamble to the Declaration of Independence!
Have your children (or whole family) memorize them and discuss their meanings together.
I like to laminate these for added durability. Then I can use them for multiple children throughout the years.
The old stained glass window has graced Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church in Roanoke, Virginia since 1906. The first pastor, Rev. Lylburn Liggins had insisted that it be put there. There had been some opposition to a window honoring a white man in a black church, but the preacher held firm.
Rev. Liggins was a remarkable man. Born a slave, he had pulled himself up by his bootstraps and studied at Lincoln University in Pennsylvania to prepare for the ministry. He had been a bright student, earning some tuition money by Continue reading What’s He Doing There? ~ Saturday Stories
There is no doubt that he is an all-time American hero. An early President, the first Governor of his home state, contributing author of some of our founding documents. Yet some people in his time, like some historians today, considered that one event a blot on his character.
He was a patriot, all right. And well did the British General Cornwallis know it. In fact, he Continue reading The Runaway Governor ~ Saturday Stories
The confrontation came about because a gang of colonists were harassing a small group of British soldiers on guard duty. The Redcoats were hated in Boston as in many parts of the colonies because they represented the tyrannical grip that King George held on them. Some British soldiers had committed serious offenses, so the red uniform was looked upon with malice. Continue reading Lawyer for the Defense – Saturday Stories
We often hear about “separation of church and state.” This term has been twisted to mean just about the opposite of what Jefferson meant when he used it in a letter to the Danbury Baptists. By the way, it’s not in the Constitution.
Such a concept would have been very strange indeed to the Founding Fathers. Their devotion to the Christian faith is the reason that most federal buildings in Washington DC have Scripture passages etched into their stone walls.
America started out as a Christian nation and her Founders intended that it should remain so. The very first Continental Congress, opening on September 7, 1774 set a most interesting and encouraging precedent.
The delegates had just received the news that Boston Harbor had been closed by the British navy, bringing to a sudden stop its bustling trade. Further, Britain was rushing more and more soldiers to keep a lid on the increasing American resentment of King George’s rude treatment of the American colonies. These were not the actions of a benevolent king.
So it was that representatives from 12 of the 13 colonies met in Carpenter’s Hall in Philadelphia on September 6 to form a Congress and to discuss what measures to take in the face of such grave threats of tyranny. Someone suggested that the meeting must be opened with prayer. Others said such a move was inappropriate because several denominations of Christians were represented, and none must feel slighted if the minister chosen to pray was of another sect.
Then Sam Adams stood. “I am no bigot,” he pronounced. “I can hear a prayer from any man who is also a patriot.” He suggested the Reverend Jacob Duche, of whom he had heard a good report. Reverend Duche was summoned.
Next morning, the minister faced the assembled delegates and read from Psalm 35: “Contend O LORD with those who contend with me; fight against those who fight against me.” He finished the Psalm and then launched into extemporaneous prayer. His words were so eloquent that some members remarked that it would have been worth a hundred-mile ride to hear him. When he finished the entire company, many on their knees, joined in prayer. The whole exercise continued for over 3 hours.
That spirit of dependence on God continued throughout the War of Independence and the founding of America as a free nation. Only in recent years has there been any serious question that America was intended to be born and continue as a Christian nation. To this day, Congress opens each session with prayer.
The little group of American soldiers had been successful. The bridge Rommel used to conduct operations in North Africa had been blown sky high, along with nearby buildings and a considerable amount of stored war material. But now the Germans all around were swarming like bees and the Americans had ninety miles to go to return to their launching point behind friendly lines.
They split up into small groups to make their escape. Their leader, Lieutenant Dan DeLeo took five men and started out toward the American lines. They hid out by day and traveled by night. Talking over possibilities, they decided to commandeer a vehicle on a nearby road and try to drive as far as possible toward safety.
Holding a pistol behind his back, DeLeo flagged down a covered truck. When the driver stopped to ask what was the matter, the soldier stuck a pistol in his face and took charge. The rest of the Americans piled into the back of the truck while DeLeo sat beside the driver and assured him that he was a dead man if he gave away his passengers’ presence. He found a white cloth on the seat which he wrapped around his head in the manner of the neighboring Arabs.
The ride was a harrowing one. More than once the GI’s rolled right through groups of hostile German or Italian soldiers. Finally, the old truck broke down on a muddy road, still fifty miles from friendly forces. There was nothing to do but walk.
Three weeks after destroying the bridge, the exhausted commandos reached a friendly French encampment. As they gratefully approached the sentries, the noticed that the Frenchmen were yelling at them frantically in French. Seeing no sign of an enemy soldier, the GI’s were mystified at what had so upset the Frenchmen. They were soon to find out.
Upon reaching the French defenses, they found an officer who spoke some English. After talking to his sentries, he informed the Americans that they had just walked through a minefield!
Sitting Bull was a famous fighting Indian chief, a great leader of the Sioux nation.
But after many years of warring against the American government, Sitting Bull was finally compelled to yield to superior numbers and surrender. A few years after his people gave up the warpath, he was befriended by Buffalo Bill Cody. Cody had been an army scout and had done his share of fighting against the Indians. But he held no malice toward the red man, and wanted to see him treated with fairness by the government and his rights respected.
A born showman, Cody put together Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show, a sort of circus that included mock battles between real Indians and Bluecoat soldiers, stage coach robberies, buffalo hunts and gunfights. Wish I could have been there.
Buffalo Bill prevailed upon the old chief Sitting Bull to be a part of this show, rightly figuring that the famous chief would be a huge attraction for the crowd of Eastern show-goers who delighted in seeing a real live piece of the Wild West. Bill and Bull often traveled together from city to city between shows.
Whenever the train pulled into another town to take on passengers, fuel or water, Cody and the chief would step out onto the platform, address the crowd and shake hands in an attempt to generate interest in their show. Sitting Bull was indeed a huge attraction. People nearly trampled each other to crowd close for a look at the famous fighter. They shouted out offers of large amounts of money for a lock of his hair.
The Chief had experienced enough threats to his scalp to have grown very attached to it, so he politely declined such offers. However, he graciously offered a button off his coat for $5.00. This was a considerable amount of money in those days, but there was no shortage of takers. The Chief sold every button at one stop. As the train pulled away, people who had been disappointed in not having obtained one of the prized souvenirs would gang around the successful buyers and offer them far more than the $5 they had spent for a button. But some miles down the line, another town and another crowd was waiting. These people would want souvenirs too, and they wouldn’t be disappointed.
Because old Chief Sitting Bull was still just as cagey as he had ever been on the warpath.
As the train pulled out of town, he reached into his pocket for several more buttons and began to patiently sew them on his coat for the next crowd.
Oliver Wolcott was one of the 56 men who signed the Declaration of Independence. If it wasn’t for that fact, history might have forgotten about him. But the truth is, he was a man of many talents and a very important figure in America’s birth.
Wolcott served as a Sheriff, a judge, a Commissioner of Indian Affairs and a member of the Continental Congress. Later he was a governor of Connecticut. As a General in the Connecticut militia, he led 14 regiments to New York City in 1776 to assist in defending that city from the British. It was as he was returning home that one of the most interesting incidents in his long and colorful life occurred.
On July 9, 1776, George Washington had ordered that the brand new Declaration of Independence be read publicly in all the towns and cities in America. When the citizens of New York heard that they were finally free from British rule, they were overcome by a wave of patriotic enthusiasm. That night, they made a statement to the King.
Forty men, some of them soldiers and sailors, others civilians, were among a crowd gathered around a statue of King George in the Bowling Green section of town. Ever since the opening battles of the war back in April at Lexington and Concord the patriots had been thinking about that statue, and not with reverence.
The statue was made of lead! Over 4,000 pounds of lead had been molded and then gilded into a likeness of King George on horseback. Lead was badly needed by the under-equipped army of George Washington. In those days bullets had to be molded by hand. From lead.
The crowd around the statue buzzed with excitement. The colonies were now free and independent states! No longer would they pay taxes to the King of England. No longer would he interfere with their laws and courts. No longer would he quarter his soldiers in their homes against their will. No longer would he commit dozens of other offenses against his honest subjects in the colonies. They were subjects no longer.
Someone finally shouted out what many were thinking as they looked up at the leaden statue above them. Cries of, “Pull it down! Pull it down!” swept through the group. Somebody found several long ropes. These were tied to the top of the statue and forty pairs of strong hands seized them. On the first attempt, the ropes broke. But they were replaced and on the second try, the king crashed to the cobblestones.
General Oliver Wolcott gathered large pieces of the statue and took them home to Connecticut. There he built a shed in his own orchard and prepared to make the King of England into a friend of the colonies. As he whacked the pieces into smaller pieces, his family and neighbors melted them down and cast them into bullets.
It must have been quite a party. Wolcott’s daughter, 11-year-old Mary Ann is credited with 10,400 bullets while her little brother Frederick (later a judge like his father), produced 936.
So in the end, the British got their statue back. Bu it was in the form of bullets from the rifles and muskets of George Washington.
Here about this story and more from
Uncle Rick Reads Once a Upon a Time in Connecticut.
Here’s a sample:
It was the evening of the 18th of April, 1775. Elbridge Gerry, a member of the Continental Congress from Massachusetts was staying overnight in a house near Menotomoy with his friend, Colonel Orne. There had been a meeting of a Congressional committee that day in nearby Cambridge and Gerry had taken part.
The community was all abuzz with rumors of British military action. Patriot leaders John Hancock and Sam Adams were staying in Lexington and military supplies had been collected and stored a few miles further up the road at Concord. Rumor had it that the British had plans to seize the men and the munitions soon.
Mr. Gerry had noticed parties of British officers passing through the area that afternoon. Others had paid little attention; such groups were not an uncommon sight in the area. But something told the statesman that something was afoot. Hastily, he wrote a warning letter to his friend, Hancock and sent it by messenger on a path that would avoid the prying British eyes. After a while he and Orne retired to bed, concerned about the possibility of danger to Hancock and Adams but giving little thought to the possibility that they themselves might be rounded up and take captive.
Later that night, the tramp of marching feet awoke them. Hundreds of redcoated soldiers were passing by! Looking out the window in the moonlight, Gerry and Orne saw the marching file stop and an officer direct his men to surround the house in which the committee was staying.
There was no time to dress. In their nightclothes, the two patriot leaders fled out the back door and into a nearby cornfield. There, they reasoned, they would be out of sight but could hear what went on in and around the house. While they spent an uncomfortable hour standing in the darkness, the British soldiers searched every nook and cranny of the house. Finally, they gave up and moved on. Gerry and Orne returned to the house, dressed and proceeded to help spread the alarm carried by Paul Revere and other riders that the British were indeed moving to capture their desired prey in Lexington and Concord.
Elbridge Gerry’s life is chronicled in For You They Signed.