So great is the deference Americans pay to the office of president of the United States that it must be a rare event when a United States senator, summoned to the White House for a conference, pounds his fist on the president's desk and demands answers
Two hundred and twenty-nine years ago, General George Washington sat with his wife, Martha, inside his cold command tent in Newburgh, New York, promised her that he would be home for Christmas, and then sent her on ahead to Mt. Vernon.
If Washington was going to keep his promise, he had a few important tasks to accomplish. He was to accept the transfer of control of New York City from the English, say goodbye to his men, and probably most important in Washington’s mind, he would officially resign his commission and give his final report to Congress then meeting in Annapolis, Maryland — and he would do it all in less than one month.
It would not seem a safe time to critique the wisdom, motivations, and character of Abraham Lincoln. Steven Spielberg’s reverential motion picture epic Lincoln fills screens across America. The public increasingly accepts him as America’s greatest leader.
Yet, such a pursuit is ever more important for a people hurtling forward into an uncertain future, to learn from past mistakes or merely become aware they made them. One growing consensus regarding Lincoln seems credible: He has exerted more influence over the development of this nation than any other person, including the Founders. If Washington be the father of our country, surely Lincoln is its stepfather.
The American Civil War was a dark chapter in America's history. Yet it did produce those who merited respect and honor. David O. Dodd was one such individual, though only a boy. He refused to betray his native Arkansas, and as a consequence was hanged as a spy by Union forces.
Fifty years ago, Rachel Carson published her book Silent Spring. The politically correct pseudo-science therein was largely responsible for the banning of DDT in much of the world, resulting in perhaps hundreds of millions of deaths.
September 19, 2012 marked the 216th anniversary of George Washington’s Farewell Address. Deservedly so, this speech has become renowned for its prose and principles — including national unity, tolerance of political differences, and neutrality in the endless foreign conflicts. To avoid the plague of perpetual war, Washington warns against “foreign alliances, attachments, and intrigues.” Sadly, our modern proclivity is to surrender sovereignty to international bodies whose members are not elected and thus not accountable to the American people, and to send monetary and military support to “freedom fighters” in the Middle East.
Seventy-five years ago, on September 21, 1937, the world received The Hobbit or There and Back Again, a strong and sweet message from one of the greatest Christian apologists in modern history, J.R.R. Tolkien. Much of the reason for the book's success is obvious: Tolkien was a fabulous writer; he was describing a mystical, but earthy world which preceded the rise of man; and the characters were drawn with a master’s touch of personality. The Hobbit has lost none of its allure over the last 75 years and it has been continuously in print since then.
Neil Armstrong was a quiet hero in an age of antiheroes. In an era that made cult heroes of amoral spies and cops who broke the rules, of James Bond and Dirty Harry Callahan, Neil Armstrong was the engineer who peacefully conquered a remote outpost of "the Last Frontier."