“The Patriot” – A Lost Opportunity

Early in 2000, the Smithsonian Museum of American History announced… it would assist in the production of an epic film about the American Revolution starring Mel Gibson.  Historians, history buffs, and living historians were further enticed by the original script detailing the exploits of “Swamp Fox” Francis Marion.  Disappointment with “The Patriot” started early, asContinue reading ““The Patriot” – A Lost Opportunity”

History Wishes for the New Year

For History’s sake, I’d like to see… The Thomas Jefferson Foundation focus on Jefferson scholarship and curatorial work, rather than Hemings family research A national movement to protect historical monuments and memorials from vandals who would erase our past to suit their present The New Eisenhower memorial generate an appreciation of his governing and militaryContinue reading “History Wishes for the New Year”

Boston Tea Party in Perspective

Modern political activists invoke history… to justify and rationalize their activism- but often lose the real lessons of the events.  The Boston Tea Party was not a simple protest against taxation; it was a complex disagreement over duties, exemptions, tariffs, and trade balance.  Current political rhetoric cheapens the truly historic events of that December inContinue reading “Boston Tea Party in Perspective”

Garry Owen!

The Irish Brigade crossed the Rappahannock river at Fredericksburg… a shadow of its former self.  Three months earlier, along the banks of the Antietam Creek, the Irish Brigade marched to glory with more than 2,000 men.  At Fredericksburg, the newly arrived 28th Massachusetts regiment bolstered the ranks to 1,200, but the veteran regiments had been decimatedContinue reading “Garry Owen!”

December 6, 1941

“No, young man. I don’t think they’d be such damned fools.” Admiral Husband Kimmel, Dec. 6th 1941. Kimmel granted an interview to the Christian Science Monitor and was incredulous when the young reporter asked about the possibility of Japan starting a war with the United States. The events of the following day forced Kimmel toContinue reading “December 6, 1941”

Pearl Harbor Hero

Mess Attendant Third Class, Doris Miller was awarded the Navy Cross Citation for heroism displayed during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. He was the first black sailor to receive the honor. CITATION: “For distinguished devotion to duty, extraordinary courage and disregard for his own personal safety during the attack on the Fleet in PearlContinue reading “Pearl Harbor Hero”

Jefferson on Jackson

Thomas Jefferson saw enough of Andrew Jackson to form this succinct, remarkably accurate description of the “military chief” in 1823. “I feel much alarmed at the prospect of seeing General Jackson President.  He is one of the most unfit men I know of for such a place.  He has had very little respect for lawsContinue reading “Jefferson on Jackson”

Finest Two Minutes

Lincoln thought he failed November 19, 1863…  obligatory applause from a damp crowd in Gettysburg offered him little consolation.  Lincoln had just followed a masterful two-hour speech from America’s greatest orator, Edward Everett.  The President sat down in his seat and commented to his friend, Ward Lamon, that the speech wouldn’t “scour” (would fail to clearContinue reading “Finest Two Minutes”

Citizen Soldiers Pt. 2

Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain answered his… nation’s call with extraordinary valor.  His standing in the social circles of Maine could have won him a Colonel’s commission, but Chamberlain deferred- he wanted to  learn the craft of soldiering before commanding troops.  His training was hands-on and brutal.  The 20th Maine’s baptism of fire was on the killingContinue reading “Citizen Soldiers Pt. 2”

Citizen Soldiers Pt. 1

Olive Wendell Holmes Jr. was a soldier…  Many present day Conservatives strongly dislike him. They accuse him of being a eugenicist (tantamount to being a communist these days,)  and his opinion on national security makes their blood boil.   If ever there were sunshine soldiers and summer patriots, they are in the modern Conservative movement.  OliverContinue reading “Citizen Soldiers Pt. 1”