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Destroying History

From Facebook Post

George Orwell once predicted that “The most effective way to
destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their
history.”   It might be thought that Orwell
could see into the future with his book 1984 and other predictions he seemed to
make.  These predictions did not unfold
though in 1984, they are unfolding now. 
It appears that there are those in society, especially in positions of
authority with the government, set on denying and obliterating our
understanding of history.  These groups
first targeted schools, and then national monuments, but they met more resistance
with national monuments than they did with school.  Once they ran into that blocked doorway of resistance,
they opted for the next best thing…obliterate recent history that few people
will be overly concerned about. 
Obliterate first Confederate history and that will open the doorway for
a firm assault on U.S. History. Dallas has again jumped onboard with a desire to deny
history, and their target this time is a statue in a cemetery – yes, you read
that right, a cemetery where we bury our dead to remember them.   You
may remember that a year or two ago as Confederate Statue Hysteria rose, many
city governments said that the statues belonged in museums or in cemeteries.  Well, Dallas targeted first Lee Park and successfully
removed the statues there despite overwhelming opposition from the public.  With that step done, they are now moving to cemeteries
– “But Wait,” you say!  They said these
statues should be in the cemeteries, right? 
Well, you were told they would not put the statues in museums – remember
those in New Orleans?  They are still sitting
in a city yard.  The statues from Lee
Park?  Still in storage.  Now, they are targeting Pioneer Cemetery and
the Confederate Statue that will cost the people of Dallas over $400,000 to
remove.  You know there must be a need
for immediate and fast removal!  After
all this statue has stood on the same location since 1896 or 122 years.  Further, consider what was originally said
about these statues – they are in public view and should be in museums or cemeteries
to remain out of the general public view. 
At that time, many people warned that these governments would not stop
with the public view, but that they would also focus on cemeteries and deny the
statues a place in museums.  The same
people who warned of the cemetery assault also told us that attacks on the
founding fathers would be next. Now, you may not believe that these groups will target the
founding fathers, but consider this – the last Confederate veteran died in the
1950s.  Prior to that, the only honor
that he had for fighting in a war came from his friends, family, the Union
army, and the communities.  Since there
was no country, and they did not have veteran status at the time, the statues
were erected around the country to honor them. 
They were erected, as almost all documentation indicates, to promote
healing, unity, and to honor the people who lived through the Civil War on the
Confederacy side.  In the late 1950s,
Congress made all Confederate Veterans, American Veterans.  This now means that the government will place
cemetery markers for those veterans, and that they are just as honored as
veterans of the United States.   With the
consideration that the Confederate Veterans are American Veterans, then it is conceivable
to view statues in their honor no different than those honoring Vietnam, Korean,
World War I or World War II veterans and so on. 
However, over 100 years later none of the original daughters or sons of
those Confederate Veterans are alive. 
There are small groups of decedents around the United States who honor,
assemble, and remember as well as study the history.  But the core group who supported and erected these
statues are long gone.  Since they were
not “National” statues, they are generally not afforded the protections of a National
Park or a National Monument after the late 1950s.  The fact that they have a small direct defense
base with no federal backing makes them the easy target.   The
goal is simple -remove the Confederate statues from public places, including cemeteries,
lie about it if you have to – remember they wanted some of the statues moved to
cemeteries, but they have not, and they have not put them in museums either-  get them out of sight and then set the goal on
others such as founding fathers.  The
target will shift to national statues once these groups have forced the nation
to accept the removal of the Confederate statues.  Once people are complacent and have accepted
that the city government can and will simply remove statues at their own
desire, then when it comes time to target Washington, Jefferson, and others, it
will be easy.  We will have grown to
expect monuments and statues of and about our history to be taken down. 

Ultimately it does not matter whether you like the
Confederate Statues or not.  It really
doesn’t matter what your understanding of Confederate history is as far as that
goes as well.  The fact is, the
Confederate Statues are a part of our national history.  They were put up in the south, north, east
and west to honor and help healing.  No
matter what anyone tells you or dreams up about them being put up to harass or
cause fear in people, the actual history from the period does not support this –
Even if you believe the history does support that these statues were put up to
scare people, then you have to explain exactly who was being scared by a
Confederate Statue in Pioneer Cemetery? 
Did the Daughters of the Confederacy have some great master plan that
would scare away people by posting these statues in graveyards?  Was their target the ghost of other people?   It
simply not likely.  The fact is, the
period of time when these statues were put up is collectively known as the “Cult
of the Confederacy”.   It is a period of
healing, honor and remembrance.  In many
cases, it gave the only grave markers known for some soldiers who died in the
war.   It was a way to promote unity in the United
States and Presidents, Congressional members, and others all supported and even
attended the dedications for many of these monuments and statues. Continue Reading →

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My Experiment (2009 – 2018)

Every month for 9 years, I have shared a portion of our American history. In sharing our history, I wanted to see if I could help create more excitement in my community for our Founding history. Could that excitement lead others to become more involved in my community? Could I help increase local shopping, a higher interest in local civics, and an increase in voter turnout? I also wanted to see if I could help lessen some of the divisions created by political parties and, instead, bring more unity. Did my experiment work? I do not see a difference, but maybe I planted some seeds. I, for one, gained valuable knowledge and respect for our Founding history. The opportunity to share what I have learned in front of audiences helped strengthen my public speaking and confidence. The supportive feedback from many of you has been encouraging. By far, the strangest thing that occurred was when some believed two of my letters were political, thereby ending their use in local schools. (Marquis de Lafayette: Lafayette loved America (1777) & Marquis de Lafayette: America loved Lafayette (1834))

My life has taken a new turn, therefore, my November 2018 history letter will be my last. RetraceOurSteps.com is still available and currently has over 2000 quotes from our Founding Fathers. I hope to continue adding to this resource as time permits. What is next in my life? I am not sure. I am positive, however, and believe that with God, life will continue to be very blessed. Continue Reading →

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Battle of Monmouth (1778)

In June 1778, the British abandoned Philadelphia and began their march to New York City. The British column stretched for 12 miles and was vulnerable to attack. Washington sent a small force to engage the enemy until he could arrive with the main force from Valley Forge. General Charles Lee engaged the British at Monmouth Courthouse but was soon in full retreat. Washington met his retreating forces and rallied his troops. Throughout the afternoon, average temperatures were over 100 degrees and many soldiers died from heat stroke. Several women brought water to the troops and one woman took her husband’s place loading the artillery after he was wounded. The army demonstrated the effectiveness of Baron von Steuben’s training and Washington considered the battle a victory. “… on the appearances of the enemy’s intention to march thro’ Jersey… I had detached [forces]… to interrupt and impede their progress… so as to give time to the Army under my command to come up with them… [To] my great surprise and mortification, I met the whole advanced Corps retreating… I proceeded immediately to the Rear of the Corps, which I found closely pressed by the Enemy, and gave directions for forming part of the retreating troops, who by the brave and spirited conduct of the Officers, aided by some pieces of well served Artillery, checked the Enemy’s advance… [The Army] remained upon the Ground, they had been directed to occupy, during the Night, with intention to begin the attack early the next morning… and about 12 o’clock at Night [the enemy] marched away in… silence… The extreme heat of the Weather— the fatigue of the Men… and the distance the Enemy had gained by marching in the Night, made a pursuit impracticable and fruitless… The Behavior of the troops in general, after they recovered from the first surprise occasioned by the Retreat of the advanced Corps, was such as could not be surpassed.” George Washington, Letter to Henry Laurens, July 1, 1778

James Still (Oct 2018), RetraceOurSteps.com

“At Monmouth I commanded a division, and… [observed] our beloved Chief [Washington], who, mounted on a splendid charger, rode along the ranks amid the shouts of the soldiers, cheering them by his voice and example… I thought then, as now that never had I beheld so superb a man.” Marquis de Lafayette, Recollections and Private Memoirs of Washington by George Washington Parke Custis, 1860

“The Men are to wash themselves this afternoon & appear as clean and decent as possible. Seven o’clock this evening is appointed that we may publicly unite in thanksgivings to the supreme Disposer of human Events for the Victory which was obtained on Sunday over the Flower of the British Troops.” George Washington, General Orders, June 30, 1778

“… should we wander from [the Founding Principles]… let us hasten to retrace our steps and to regain the road which alone leads to peace, liberty, and safety.” Thomas Jefferson, First Inaugural Address, March 4, 1801

RetraceOurSteps.com Continue Reading →

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Separation of Church and State [National] (1802)

Thomas Jefferson was an American Founding Father, author of the Declaration of Independence and America’s third president. In his First Inaugural Address, Jefferson encouraged citizens to be “enlightened by a benign [kind] religion…”and hoped God would, “lead our [government] councils to what is best…” The Danbury Baptists wrote Jefferson to warn him that some in government positions would seek “power and gain” and “make Laws to govern the Kingdom of Christ.” In his response, Jefferson described how the U.S. Constitution constructed a wall around our National government to prevent it from taking any action concerning religion. Jefferson understood freedom of religion was a matter of conscience and a natural right under the oversight of state or church officials. “Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should ‘make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,’ thus building a wall of separation between Church & State [National]. Adhering to this expression of the supreme will of the nation in behalf of the rights of conscience, I shall see with sincere satisfaction the progress of those sentiments which tend to restore to man all his natural rights, convinced he has no natural right in opposition to his social duties. I reciprocate your kind prayers for the protection & blessing of the common father and creator of man, and tender you for yourselves & your religious association, assurances of my high respect & esteem.” Thomas Jefferson, Letter to the Danbury Baptists, January 1, 1802

James Still (Aug 2018), RetraceOurSteps.com

“In our village of Charlottesville… We have four sects [doctrines], but without either church or meeting-house. The court-house is the common temple, one Sunday in the month to each. Here, Episcopalian and Presbyterian, Methodist and Baptist, meet together, join in hymning their Maker, listen with attention and devotion to each others’ preachers, and all mix in society with perfect harmony.” Thomas Jefferson, Letter to Dr. Thomas Cooper, November 2, 1822

“In matters of religion, I have considered that its free exercise is placed by the constitution independent of the powers of the general [National] government. I have… Continue Reading →

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First Presidential Election (1789)

On April 6, 1789, as prescribed by the U.S. Constitution, “… [Congress] counted the votes of the electors for President and Vice President of the United States…” George Washington was unanimously voted President and John Adams was voted Vice President. (The terms “Electoral” and “College” would not be referenced in law until 1845.) Here are some events over the next few days. April 7 “In pursuance of the orders I received from the Senate [to inform Washington of his election], I left New York… [Though] much impeded by tempestuous weather, bad roads, and the many large rivers I had to cross, yet, by unremitted diligence I reached Mount Vernon [on April 14], the seat of his excellency, General Washington…” Charles Thomson, Letter to John Langdon, April 24, 1789

April 14 “I am much affected by this fresh proof of my country’s esteem and confidence, that silence can best explain my gratitude. While I realize the arduous nature of the task which is conferred on me, and feel my inability to perform it, I wish there may not be reason for regretting the choice. All I can promise is, only that which can be accomplished by an honest zeal.” George Washington, Noted by Charles Thomson, Apr 24, 1789

April 16 “About ten o’clock I bade adieu to Mount Vernon, to private life, and to domestic felicity; and with a mind oppressed with more anxious and painful sensations than I have words to express, set out for New York… with the best dispositions to render service to my country in obedience to its call, but with less hope of answering its expectations.” George Washington, Entry in Diary, April 16, 1789

April 23 “… the decorations of the ships, the roar of cannon, and the loud acclamations of the people which rent the skies, as I passed along the wharves, filled my mind with sensations as painful… as they are pleasing.” George Washington, Entry in Diary, April 23, 1789

James Still (May 2018), RetraceOurSteps.com

April 23 “Our worthy President was greatly affected with these tokens of a profound respect… [and] the Huzzaing and shouts of Joy seemed to add life to the heavenly scene… [The] Shores [were] crowded with thousands of People… Nay I may venture to say Tens of Thousands…” Elias Boudinot, Letter to Mrs. Boudinot, April 24, 1789

“When the President was on the wharf, an officer came up &… said he had the honor to command his guard… The President announced that ‘As to the present arrangement he should proceed as was directed but that, after that was over… Continue Reading →

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Articles of Confederation: Circular Letter to the States (1777)

The Articles of Confederation (and Perpetual Union) was the first Constitution of the United States. Richard Henry Lee wrote, “In this great business, dear Sir, we must yield a little to each other, and not rigidly insist on having everything correspondent to the partial views of every State. On such terms we can never confederate…” Thomas Burke noted, “The United States ought to be as One Sovereign [power] with respect to foreign Powers… But in all Commercial or other peaceful Intercourse they ought to be as separate Sovereigns.” Once the Articles of Confederationwere approved, Congress encouraged ratification. “To form a permanent Union, accommodated to the opinion and wishes of the delegates of so many states differing in habits, produce, commerce and internal police, was found to be a work which nothing but time and reflection, conspiring with a disposition to conciliate, could mature and accomplish. Hardly is it to be expected that any plan, in the variety of provisions essential to our Union, should exactly correspond with the maxims and political views of every particular state. Let it be remarked that after the most careful inquiry and the fullest information, this is proposed as the best, which could be adapted to the circumstances of all; and as that alone, which affords any tolerable prospect of general ratification. Permit us then earnestly to recommend these articles to the immediate and dispassionate attention of the legislatures of the respective states. Continue Reading →

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United States Postal Service to Celebrate 100th Anniversary of U.S. Airmail Service

WASHINGTON, March 22, 2018 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/

The United States Postal Service will honor the beginning of airmail service by dedicating two United States Air Mail Forever stamps this year. The first commemorates the pioneering spirit of the brave pilots who first flew the mail in the early years of aviation. The first-day-of-issue ceremony will take place May 1, 2018 at 11 a.m. at the Smithsonian National Postal Museum, 2 Massachusetts Ave. N.E., Washington, DC. The event is free and open to the public. Continue Reading →

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Articles of Confederation (1777)

The Articles of Confederation (and Perpetual Union) was approved by Congress on November 15, 1777 and went into effect on March 1, 1781, following the ratification by all 13 States. There was no provision for a president, judiciary or means of taxation. Congress noted it would be impossible to agree on every political view. It was “of the absolute necessity”, however, to unite “all our councils and all our strength to maintain and defend our common liberties…” The Articles of Confederation ultimately failed, but helped to inspire the U.S. Constitution. Here are a few highlights of America’s first Constitution. “Article 2. Each state retains its sovereignty, freedom, and independence, and every power, jurisdiction, and right, which is not by this Confederation expressly delegated to the United States, in Congress…

Article 3. The said States hereby severally enter into a firm league of friendship with each other, for their common defense, the security of their liberties, and their mutual and general welfare…

Article 4. The better to secure and perpetuate mutual friendship… the people of each State shall [have] free ingress and regress to and from any other State, and enjoy therein all the privileges of trade and commerce…

Article 5. Continue Reading →

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Marquis de Lafayette: America loved Lafayette (1834)

Marquis de Lafayette served passionately during America’s Revolution. Along with Benjamin Franklin, Lafayette helped to obtain France’s involvement in our Revolution. Lafayette also helped secure a victory at Yorktown. During his final visit to America in 1824, Lafayette became the first foreign dignitary to address the U.S. House of Representatives. George Washington and Lafayette maintained a close relationship throughout their lives. Lafayette looked to Washington as a father and named his son George Washington Lafayette. Lafayette died in 1834 and was buried in Paris, France. Soil taken from Bunker Hill was sprinkled over his grave. Upon learning of Lafayette’s death, Congress ordered funeral honors similar to those given to Washington. “RESOLUTION… on the occasion of the decease of General Lafayette… That the sacrifices and efforts of this illustrious person in the cause of our country during her struggle for independence, and the affectionate interest which he has at all times manifested for the success of her political institutions, claim from the Government and people of the United States an expression of condolence for his loss, veneration for his virtues, and gratitude for his services. And be it further resolved, That the President of the United States be requested to address, together with a copy of the above resolutions, a letter to George Washington Lafayette and the other members of his family, assuring them of the condolence of this whole nation…

And be it further resolved, That the members of the two Houses of Congress will wear a badge of mourning for thirty days, and that it be recommended to the people of the United States to wear a similar badge for the same period… [And] That the halls of the Houses be dressed in mourning for the residue of the session.” Statutes at Large, Death of General Marquis de Lafayette, June 26, 1834

James Still (Oct 2017), RetraceOurSteps.com

“… to have received at every stage of the Revolution, and during forty years after that period, from the people of the United States… at home and abroad, continual marks of their confidence and kindness, has been the pride, the encouragement, the support of a long and eventful life.” Marquis de Lafayette, Response to John Adams, September 6, 1825

“The resolution which so powerfully honors my father’s memory shall be deposited as a most sacred family property in that room of mourning where once his son and grandsons used to receive with avidity [passion] from him lessons of patriotism and active love of liberty… the affection and esteem of a free nation is the most desirable reward that can be obtained on earth.” George Washington Lafayette, Letter to Andrew Jackson, October 21, 1834

“… should we wander from [the Founding Principles]… let us hasten to retrace our steps and to regain the road which alone leads to peace, liberty, and safety.” Thomas Jefferson, First Inaugural Address, March 4, 1801

RetraceOurSteps.com Continue Reading →

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Marquis de Lafayette: Lafayette loved America (1777)

Marquis de Lafayette was born into French nobility and inherited a large family fortune at the age of 14. At the age of 19, and against the will of the King of France, Lafayette used his own money to secure a ship to America. Lafayette described his feelings, “The moment I heard of America, I loved her; the moment I knew she was fighting for freedom, I burnt with a desire of bleeding for her; and the moment I shall be able to serve her at any time, or in any part of the world, will be the happiest one of my life.” With the approval of Congress, Lafayette joined General Washington on the battlefield. Unsure at first how to accept Lafayette, Washington quickly gained respect for Lafayette after observing him in his first battle, the Battle of Brandywine. Washington wrote Congress and recommended Lafayette be given a command. “I would take the liberty to mention, that I feel myself in a delicate situation with respect to the Marquis de Lafayette. He is extremely solicitous of having a Command equal to his rank, &… it appears to me, from a consideration of his illustrious and important connections—the attachment which he has manifested to our cause, and the consequences, which his return [to France] in disgust might produce, that it will be advisable to gratify him in his wishes—and the more so, as several Gentlemen from France, who came over under some assurances [of appointments], have gone back disappointed in their expectations. His conduct with respect to them stands in a favorable point of view… and in all his letters has placed our affairs in the best situation he could. Besides, he is sensible—discreet in his manners—has made great proficiency in our Language, and from the disposition he discovered at the Battle of Brandywine, possesses a large share of bravery and Military ardor [passion].” George Washington, Letter to Henry Laurens (Congress), November 1, 1777

James Still (Sep 2017), RetraceOurSteps.com

“Resolved, That General Washington be informed, it is highly agreeable to Congress that the Marquis de Lafayette be appointed to the command of a division in the continental army.” Journals of Congress, December 1, 1777

“We are not, I confess, so strong as I expected, but we are strong enough to fight… Continue Reading →

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