Life Is for Living
Truth can not only be stranger than fiction, it can sometimes be more interesting. While a solo figure, Paul Revere, riding through the night to warn that "the British are coming" speaks of singular daring -- consider adding two more riders. That's what really happened and this triple enthusiasm reads like a cherry on top of a chocolate sundae. Paul did come charging into Lexington all by himself but by the time he left on the way Concord he was picking up William Dawes and soon thereafter a Dr. William Prescott.
John Adams wrote to his wife, "I am apt to believe that [July 2, 1776], will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival." Unfortunately, John was wrong. This great document developed a bad case of the slows. It wasn't edited and approved until the 4th and actual signing didn't began to take place until August 2nd. And even John Hancock's oversized scribble, so large "even King George can read it without his glasses on" took another three months to be added. Celebrate it at the end of November? Well yes, if completion is the point. If not, when would you celebrate it?
The story of the crack in the Liberty Bell is not all that it is cracked up to be. By the time of the Revolution, this old, poorly cast bell had already cracked several times. As to cracking while being rung on July 4th, it didn't happen. It wasn't even rung on that day. It didn't vibrate until July 8th, when it was rung, along with other Boston bells, to celebrate the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence. And it remained intact during the process. The crack we see when we visit Philadelphia these days actually happened some time during the 19th century.
Did Betsy Ross design and sew the first American flag? There are probably as many proofs to be able to answer "yes" as there are to answer "no."
Did native Indians fight with the British against the colonies? Some did. Some didn't. Some just stayed neutral and went on with their daily lives.
Was the war a war of complete agreement and 100% participation? Hardly. Many still loved mother England, for as the saying goes, "old trees are not that easily transplanted." Fact is, many saw the war as a planting of instability and joined the British forces to maintain the status quo. Fifteen to 20% were loyalist and 50,000 actually served in the war wearing British uniforms.
Nor did John Adams die with Thomas Jefferson's name upon his lips and proclaiming "Jefferson survives." Actually, ole Tom preceded John by several hours. It's a great story but there is nothing to prove it.
This myth busting is not done to denigrate these great men and great deeds, for the truth is strong enough to stand on its own. It is just that in the telling of all tales they get misconstrued, strangled out of shape and end up sending sunshine and shadows in misguided patterns.
Which is why I hate to see so many history classes being cancelled in so many schools. Unfortunately, those who do not learn the truth about our yesterdays are destined to promote wrong information in our tomorrows.