Otto Otepka is not a name that automatically rings bells in the minds of most Americans, even those Americans with a historical understanding of the role of communism in suborning our government. Yet as William Gill relates in his magisterial work, The Ordeal of Otto Otepka, often lonely individuals guided only by their patriotism, their conscience, and their faith have been the Horatio at the Bridge, protecting the rest of us from evil.
George Washington warned Americans "… to steer clear of permanent alliances with any portion of the foreign world..." "Peace, commerce and honest friendship with all nations; entangling alliances with none," our third President, Thomas Jefferson, would phrase the same sentiment. Europe, in particular, had long been immersed in the cynical balance of power politics which brought nations to join together to block the hegemony of other nations.
One hundred years ago last week, on March 23, 1912, Japan gave America a gift that keeps on giving: more than 3,000 cherry trees, whose blossoming beauty is celebrated each year. Japan desired friendship with America and our Founding Fathers urged us to reciprocate with all nations that desired amiable relations with our republic.
Lord Byron called him the “Forest-born Demosthenes.” Others called him the “Lion of Liberty.” Whatever the title, Patrick Henry (left) was never one to mince words in the defense of freedom. The silver-tongued orator was never at a loss for words, and he spoke with a ready arsenal of logic. Biographer William Wirt said of him in 1817, “Tis true he could talk — Gods how he could talk!”
Today, March 16, is the 261st anniversary of the birth of the “Father of the Constitution,” James Madison, Jr. At Montpelier, the home Madison grew up in and then shared with his wife, Dolley, for the rest of his life, the staff throwing Mr. Madison a little shindig. From the official website: