Between Memorial Day and July 4th, we’ll be doing a series of posts on Authentic Patriotism, featuring vignettes from Stephen P. Kiernan’s book Authentic Patriotism as well as local stories of authentic patriotism (you can submit them HERE). Stephen will be our featured speaker at the June 21 Dinner at the Square (find details HERE).
Kiernan writes of the personal sacrifices made by patriots in the founding generation for their love of country. Here Kiernan tells President George Washington’s story
“Picture George Washington, on the December day in 1783 when he stepped down as general and presented his sword to Congress. While the world reeled from his humility, Washington climbed on a horse with an escort of a single companion, and rode hard so he would be home by Christmas Eve. But the word home is an understatement for his relationship with Mount Vernon. He grew up there. He would die there. During the Revolutionary years, he had been able to spend only a few nights there – a handful in November 182, a short spell in September 1780. All the time Washington was leading the troops to victory, he was also a man who wanted to go home.”
“…The men and women of that era risked their lives for these ideals because it was necessary. Today the imperatives are less elemental to the nation’s existence. But that does not mean that Americans can afford to risk nothing, contribute nothing. A democracy without an engaged populace is like a monarchy without a king.”