WHY READ HISTORY? — To re-experience EXCELLENCE

Thomas Paine from Internet [5].pn

“These are the times that try men’s souls.”  But, no, this line was not penned nor typed nor tweeted in the 21st Century.  It is one of the slogans that made the American Revolution possible.  That generated and strengthened bonds among “we few, we band of brothers”, striking tyranny from our land in the 1700’s.

thomas paine sign re Common Sense from Internet

The eloquent and heroic Thomas Paine went on to declare,  The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.”  George Washington and Thomas Jefferson were known to credit the Spirit of ’76 [which barely existed in that era of barefoot soldiers, yet steadily grew], to the words of this writer. 

Strategic Retreat

The Legendary Crossing, which may never have happened without Paine’s heroic urgings

Nearby Bordentown is the only place where Paine ever owned a home.  A slight, compelling statue recreates the man without whose pamphlets we might not have a nation.

19171278-A-statue-of-Thomas-Paine-father-of-the-American-Revolution-in-Bordentown-New-Jersey--Stock-Photo

Paine’s  courage was by no means limited to 1776 — for he would also pen the stirring phrase, “Government without a Constitution is power without a right.”

We the People from Internet orig

 

220px-Thomas_Paine_by_Laurent_Dabos-crop

 

13 Star Flag Chestnut Neck Revolutionary War Monument Winter 2017

Thirteen-Star Flag in Winter, Chestnut Neck, NJ, Battleground —

British Won This One

 

I am steeping myself in history books, of the time of TR, FDR, ER and always Churchill; alternating with our own American Revolution, because I am starved for excellence.

Right now, David Hackett Fischer’s stunning account, “Washington’s Crossing” “hath me in thrall.”  I am particularly moved, proud of our state as I am, to read, “Ordinary people in New Jersey came together to do something about their lost liberty.”  This wise author describes our ‘rag, tag and bobtail’ soldiers as “an army of optimistic fatalists.”  Writing of the Crossing of the Delaware, Colonel Henry Knox declared, “Perseverance accomplished what at first seemed impossible.” 

We are a country that first seemed impossible.  Our neighbors sacrificed everything — there is an entire chapter on the Hessian’s near-total looting of New Jersey homes and of course farms and farmlands.

George Washington penned a note to himself on the Pennsylvania side before the crossing, “VICTORY OR DEATH.”  Our challenge was that simple, that austere.

One of the miracles was that “in the end, not a man was lost to the river,” despite towering, occluding ice floes, ice in the Durham boats, a sleet-laden nor’easter that struck as the men boarded their crafts at McConkey’s Ferry.

Surely, all this did not happen to have it tweeted away in the 21st Century!

Let Tom Paine have the last word: “Some evils in the world are worse than war.  And one of them is tyranny.”

Protest every way you know how!

Advertisements

“TOUJOURS ZERO” POEM

 1 a snow branch burden 2011

 TOUJOURS ZERO

 surely my thermometer

has broken

registering “toujours zero”

only the humidity meter

moving

it’s two-thousand-fifteen

in the state of New Jersey

too near Route 95’s corridor

magnet for absolute zero

even at these temperatures

a new river runs through

my snow-glazed backyard

porch lights reveal

snow/rain/sleet/ice/fog

all at the same time

no matter how far above or below

zero

even the railing’s iced

leading to my car

whose doors are frozen shut

I do not want these ‘snow days’

belong at my work desk

saving this planet

that’s going to hell in a handbasket

smug commentators joking

about ‘warming’

that grave misnomer

for the catastrophe

that hath New Jersey by the throat

CAROLYN FOOTE EDELMANN

March 2, 2105

Moccasin Snow Depth Front Door

Moccasin Snow Depth Front Door

1 a snow depth front door 2011

Snow Depth at Front Door

Blizzard and Fenced Holly

Blizzard and Fenced Holly Canal Road 2014

Deer in Blizzard Front Yard Canal Road

Deer in Blizzard Front Yard Canal Road

Clearing After Blizzard

Clearing After Blizzard, Canal Road