America seems so dysfunctional lately, doesn’t it?
Police are shooting civilians, civilians are shooting police. There’s political distress all around and it seems like CNN and Fox News are constantly screaming at us about it. The stock market goes up for a minute and then down for a month. Our people become more reliant on a welfare state, while the rich get richer and less generous. We can’t trust our own military not to spy on us, and they can’t trust us not to have to. We have every resource at our fingertips, yet we complain about how hard life is while sitting on a couch, eating fro-yo and watching The Bachelor.
Sometimes it is easy to forget how great America really is and what events took place to make it great. Whether we acknowledge it or not, much of our identity is built on our legacy and on the history of our nation.
Our story begins long ago before the United States was even a thing. And while it is easy to forget about legacy and story among all of the current noise, the book titled 1776 by David McCullough will help to pull you back in.
“There are no people on earth in whom a spirit of enthusiastic zeal is so readily kindled, and burns so remarkably, as Americans.” (1776)
McCullough drops us right into the year when the bravest of men gave their lives to establish a new nation, set apart from foreign rule. These men did not have enlistment officers, GI Bills, combat training, or even uniforms. That defending against (and let alone defeating) the British was a “great task” is nothing but an understatement. Britain was the most powerful nation on earth, and this group of ragtag immigrants – Americans – decided it was time to divest from their tax collecting autocracy.
The book uses letters, journals, and military correspondence to detail the events that surrounded General Washington and his men in their quest against the British.
Against all odds: poor, untrained, sick, drunk, and even unarmed, Washington’s Continental Army held on by a thread while the Red Coats flooded the sea and land establishing a fortress of power around a weak army that soon began to dissent. Washington became so distraught with the failure of his army, that he wrote he did not wish his circumstances on even his worst enemies.
Yet despite being outnumbered, out-equipped, and almost fully surrounded, Washington’s men (and women) took the Brits by storm and, as you already know, ran Mother England back across the Atlantic where she belongs.
Every American should read 1776. We should all remember the lives that were sacrificed to plant our routes, and the courage and faith it took to start our great nation. It might, if even for a moment, make you feel good about America.
“The year 1776, celebrated as the birth year of the nation and for the signing of the Declaration of Independence, was for those who carried the fight for independence forward a year of all-too-few victories, of sustained suffering, disease, hunger, desertion, cowardice, disillusionment, defeat, terrible discouragement, and fear, as they would never forget, but also of phenomenal courage and bedrock devotion to country, and that, too they would never forget.”