“Hurry, we’re late,” my spouse referred to as back again to me. She was headed to the Midshipmen Keep at the U.S. Naval Academy. A sale was on for Navy enthusiast equipment and we needed to be well attired for the once-a-year Military-Navy football match. I experienced the honor of accompanying my spouse, then a Navy Captain and a commanding officer of the Academy’s health clinic.
“Go on, I’ll catch up,” I referred to as out, relishing the chance to phase my own minor mutiny. I had seen a massive cannon in entrance of MacDonough Hall just a few yards from the Mid Store. I was fascinated by the ding, the pronounced concavity in the mouth of that cannon. The plaque underneath advised the story. I’m a slow reader of historical plaques.
As I ran my hand above that ding, I go through how Lieutenant Thomas MacDonough experienced fired the cannon ball from his ship that had strike this naval gun and triggered that despair in the mouth of this captured British cannon. Even more remarkable, Lt. MacDonough’s well-aimed shot experienced driven this really gun again on its carriage and had killed Commander George Downie, the British skipper of the HMS Confiance. That was a turning level in the Fight of Lake Champlain.
The Battle of Lake Champlain was fought two hundred a long time in the past, on September eleven, 2014. In our time, September 11th will be remembered, as it ought to be, for the horrific terrorist assault on the Globe Trade Heart, the Pentagon, and United Flight 93, introduced down by heroic American travellers in excess of Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
But the War of 1812 experienced its share of terror strategies, as well. A Canadian author, the late Pierre Berton, connected the story of what happened when the American militiamen outside what was to grow to be Chicago surrendered to Indian allies of the British. 6 hundred Pottawatomie Indians, led by Black Bird, their chief, had pledged to enable the captured troopers and their family members go free of charge for a ransom of $ 100 every. Black Hen will not keep his promise.
At the wagon teach, the soldiers’ wives, armed with their husbands’ swords, battle as fiercely as the guys. Two are hacked to parts, a Mrs. Corbin, wife of a personal, had vowed by no means to be taken prisoner and…Cicely [a black woman, an enslaved man or woman]who is cut down with her infant son. Within the wagons, in which the [soldiers’] youthful kids are huddled, there is greater horror. One particular young Indian slips in and slaughters twelve single-handed, slicing their heads from their bodies in a fury of bloodlust.
[Pierre Berton, The Invasion of Canada: 1812-13, Penguin Textbooks Canada, Ltd. Toronto: 1980, p. 254.]
Ransom? Beheadings? Female and children slaughtered? Sounds like this morning’s headlines on ISIS. This was rarely an isolated incident. These kinds of massacres on equally sides have been element of our country’s early history.
Being aware of about this sort of events in our previous assists us cope with terrorism these days. It’s not the initial time we have confronted this kind of determined and bloodthirsty enemies. It won’t be the last.
What we need to have is to have a feel for our heritage. I have run my hand over that ding in the cannon’s mouth. I felt it. At the Lincoln Cottage in Northeast Washington, D.C., you can run your hand together the railing of the stairs that lead up to the room the place President Lincoln drafted the Emancipation Proclamation. Throughout the river at close by Mount Vernon, you can mount the very same stairs that George Washington descended when he discovered that he experienced been elected the 1st President of the United States.
By means of these kinds of ordeals, we spot ourselves in communion with all these People in america earlier and present who have taken the oath to protect the land we enjoy. My spouse and I have numerous instances attended the Induction Day ceremonies at the Naval Academy. Which is the working day when around one,200 new “Plebes” arrive to get started their four-calendar year period of instruction in army and educational subjects. On I-Day, the Plebes receive their immunizations get substantial actual physical exams, and haircuts. They are dressed in baggy uniforms called “whiteworks.” All their above-the-counter and prescription medications are dumped in large piles. From now on, the Navy is dependable for their well being and safety.
At day’s conclude, the Plebes and their dad and mom gather in Tecumseh Courtroom. “T-Court” is named for an enemy Indian chieftain we honor these days for the fact he saved American prisoners from currently being tomahawked and scalped during the War of 1812.
Suddenly, in excess of the massive columns of Bancroft Hall, 4 Navy jets thunder overhead, so low you can go through the numbers on their fuselages. You can truly feel the roar in the pit of your belly. It’s sound of flexibility, they say.
And the Plebes raise their right arms and recite the Oath of Office. Several of their dad and mom and numerous of us assembled as a cloud of witnesses will be in tears as these lively young people pledge their life to defend and protect our Constitution.
They end their recitation of the Oath with the exact same terms spoken by George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, and by every other commander-in-main:
So Aid Me God
You can operate your arms over these phrases. They are engraved on a plaque affixed to the bulkhead (wall) in Bancroft Corridor. You can come to feel your country’s history.