Though my last name is pronounced the same with a similar spelling, I have no familial relation to the infamous midnight rider Paul Revere. Shame really, for I’d love to have capitalized on that.
Paul Revere’s been in the news of late as Alaska’s former governor, Sarah Palin, was recently quoted as saying that his April 1775 ride was actually to “warn the British.” Silly girl, everyone knows he was warning the patriots that “The British are coming!”
Of course Democrats and journalists have been having a field day with this blunder, but I offer you the following information.
A 2000 study by the American Council of Trustees and Alumni found that the majority of seniors at the nation’s very best colleges could not identify words from the Gettysburg Address or explain why Valley Forge was so important.
A 2006 assessment by the Education Department’s National Center for Education Statistics found that nearly 40% of 12th graders could not identify the meaning behind the Lewis and Clark Expedition and only 14% knew why the US got involved in the Korean War.
I’d be a liar to say that I wasn’t one of those people.
We live in America and yet most Americans, even those obtaining the best possible education, are not exposed to the history lessons, which have made our great country what it is today. We celebrate its freedoms on the 4th of July, Memorial Day and Veterans Day and yet so much of the history associated with those days of remembrance are forgotten.
It’s easy to criticize Palin for her blunder about Paul Revere, but aren’t we all like her? Haven’t we all failed our country by forgetting profound events which have helped shaped this nation?
As I said, I’m just as guilty. But maybe it’s time we all put down the cell phones and the computers and picked up a history book to learn that there’s more to appreciating the United States of America than simply putting out a flag on a holiday.