Monday, July 05, 2010

Thoughts on the 5th of July

"...she's a Grand Old Rag Flag..."

  And with that simple line and a little more, a wonderfully insightful and very special friend broke through my writer's blogger's block and inspired these post July 4th musings; and here's some of the stuff I discovered, some new, some known, all neat to know. I hope you like reading it as much as I liked posting it.
   To start, a well known and respected polling group of 4 polling agencies recently conducted a collaborative poll of native born U.S. citizens, both genders, voters who DO vote, high school grads or better, ALL races in proportion to the population, fully employed, aged 30-45; and found that an amazing 26% total didn't know we won our independence from Great Britain!
   Thankfully, those dolts are not likely to read this, so if I insult their lack of interest in the country of their birth, that offered them an education (if they bothered taking it seems doubtful), provided work opportunities to feed & care for their families, and protects them from the various boogymen we're warned of incessantly, WHO CARES! For those who will read this, again, I hope you enjoy it.
  The United States is about more than just the founding fathers. Here are some of the lesser known women who made their mark in making the United States an independent nation.

1)For many, the Boston Tea Party is synonymous with the uprising leading to the war. But Boston wasn't the first tea party, Penelope Barker's Edenton Tea Party was:

Months before any active independence movement, Penelope Barker led the Edenton Tea Party. Unlike the better known Boston Tea Party, Penelope and more than 50 women did not dress up in costumes to show the British how they felt. Penelope wrote up a declaration against the use of tea, and clothes made from British cloth. All the women at the meeting signed. The British, naturally, laughed at women protesting. Women's opinions at the time were not considered important. The British took notice as more women joined the boycott of British goods. But, without firing a shot, these women let Britain know where the power lies -in the hands of those who rock the cradle. Women joined their men in showing the British that they, too, would not stand for taxation without representation.

2) Everyone learns in school of the midnight ride of minuteman Paul Revere, but no one ever studies the even longer ride of Sybil Ludington:

Sybil's ride became necessary because the British had ransacked Danbury, Connecticut. DanburyFredricksburg, New York. A young soldier arrived at Sybil's father's house. Colonel Ludington was in charge of the local volunteers. Needing someone to go at once to gather the troops, Sybil jumped at the chance. She rode to the many villages, informing everyone what was happening. Thanks to her bravery, the Patriots were able to force the British back to Long Island Sound. From there, they sailed away.

3) And Sybil wasn't the only woman to assist on the line. There was also Minutewoman Prudence Wright:

With their men out looking for British soldiers, Prudence Wright gathered the women of Groton, Massachusetts. They would defend the bridge leading into town. Putting on their husbands clothes, they looked a sight. The armed themselves with whatever they could get their hands on, some using pitchforks. They hid in the reeds until a British officer came by, given away by his horse's hooves on the bridge. The women removed the secret messages he was carrying, passing them on to the local Patriot Committee of Safety. Back home, the women laughed at the surprise of the British officer when he found out that he had been had by women.

4)Many people know of General George Washington and his role in leading the troops during the Revolution. But few know of the woman who may have single-handedly assisted in turning the war around. Meet Catherine Moore Berry:

It was l781. The British, under command of General Cornwallis was out to crush a group of Patriots commanded by a General Morgan. General Morgan, realizing how out-manned he was, appealed to Catherine Moore Barry for help. She knew every inch of the land she lived in. She knew all the short cuts, the trail, where Patriots lived, and how to contact them. Single-handedly, Catherine rounded up the necessary local Patriots to join General Morgan's troops. With Catherine's help, General Morgan laid a trap for General Corwallis and his men. The plan worked. General Cornwallis was defeated, retreating into the hands of General Washington... at Yorktown, Virginia. With his surrender there, the colonies won their independence from Britain.

    And now, back to the story behind the 'sub-title' of this post, as sent by my friend:

The original lyric for this perennial George M. Cohan favorite came, as Cohan later explained, from an encounter he had with a Civil War veteran who fought at Gettysburg. The two men found themselves next to each other and Cohan noticed the vet held a carefully folded but ragged old flag. The man reportedly then turned to Cohan and said, "She's a grand old rag." Cohan thought it was a great line and originally named his tune "You're a Grand Old Rag." So many groups and individuals objected to calling the flag a "rag," however, that he "gave 'em what they wanted" and switched words, renaming the song "You're a Grand Old Flag."
(Courtesy Library of Congress)

"Add now", as long-lived radio commentator Paul Harvey would say, "you know....the rest.....of the story!"
Until next time, stay well and stay safe.


an average patriot said...

Muddled musings that's pretty good. You should change the name of your Blog to that!

Mel said...

I love that post. I love the word dolt..and I love learning new stuff I didn't know.

I did know that we won our independence from Great Britain. whew!

deanna said...

Very interesting stuff, Mike. Thanks. Maybe if more knew the rag story, we could all be more down to earth about life in America.

Kay said...

This is a terrific post. There's quite a bit I didn't know. I'll have to come back to this and reread it when I'm more awake. I've been up to my ears.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for such an informative post, especially the inclusion of lesser-known women.