by Joseph P. Tartaro,
The Fourth of July is a holiday that our Founding Fathers urged us to celebrate to commemorate.
It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires and illuminations, from one end of the continent to the other, from this time forward forevermore, according to John Adams, a signer of the Declaraton of Independence and the second president of the United States of America.
It is interesting to note that Adams included guns as an important part of the celebration, a fact many would deny today.
Keep that in mind when you visit historic forts and museums on the Fourth or when you attend concerts that include the playing of martial music such as The Stars & Stripes Forever, composed by trapshooting champion John Phillip Sousa. The Marine band masters major link to gun collecting and shooting is seldom mentioned these days.
Neither is the linkage of South Bend Replicas Inc. The companys president, Paul Barnett, played a pivotal role in the defeat of federal legislation to ban the sale and private possession of black powder and in forming the Indiana Sportsmens Council. His company still supplies most of the replica cannons you see at old forts, historic ships and museums.
Barnett and his company are frequently asked to orchestrate the authentic cannon shots you hear in live performances and recordings of Tchaikovskys Overture 1812, a favorite at major Fourth of July concerts.
Denial or Failure
Sometimes these days it is hard to tell whether educators are denying the role of guns in our history or are simply so uneducated. Certainly there is much evidence that too many of the younger generation dont know our history.
I have to wonder where the youngest students will ever learn it when I hear that their teachers dont know it themselves.
This was brought home the other day when John Krull, Gun Weeks production manager, reminded me about an incident involving the grandson of a frienda teen-ager who, like Sousa, also happens to be a champion shooter.
When his teacher told the class that there were no airplanes used by either side during World War II, the young man rose to correct her, offering to name both Allied and Axis airplanes.
One has to wonder if the teacher is confusing World War II with the Revolutionary War. Apparently, they were both before her time, and she missed the replays on television.
Day by day, the political correctness disease seems to afflict more people in ever more dangerous ways. In the past few days, two demonstrations of the worst symptoms have shown that these sick Americans would deny our history.
On June 6, The Baltimore Sun reported that an artist refused to alter his government-funded mural as he prepared to meet with members of Associated Black Charities Inc., who balked at putting it on their building because they believe it paints a racially loaded portrait of Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad. As you read on, however, youll discover that racially loaded in this case is a red herring because of an image of a firearm.
Strong emotions were apparent, The Sun continued, over the 25-foot-high ceramic mural planned for display late in June at Associateds headquarters at Cathedral and Chase streets in Baltimore. The work portrays Tubman with a rifle, leading slaves to freedom through a symbolic, parting Red Sea. The images of whites in the workthey are being tossed into the sea from either a slave ship or a factoryand Tubman handling a rifle set people off, even before a June 5 public gathering to discuss the mural.
The mural creates a powerful image, but one that could be construed as racist and condoning violence, say Charity directors. It is not something to display on an outside wall at a time when guns are too often linked with violence in the black community, Charity officials say, The Sun reported.
But the issue wasnt really racism but guns. The Sun went on to report that Associated leaders urged artist Mike Alewitzchosen in a national competition sponsored jointly by the White House Millennium Council and the National Endowment for the Artsto substitute a peaceful staff for the musket. Notice there was no request for a change to any other element in the mural.
Wont Disarm Tubman
Alewitz likens this to censorship: I will not disarm Harriet Tubman. I wont take [the rifle] out of her hands, he said in a telephone interview before the meeting.
The 25-by-123-foot mural was designed to be in public view. But it has raised questions about historical truth vs. contemporary perceptions, issues that separate whites and blacks, according to The Sun. Some tried to bridge that gulf at the meeting.
The community coordinator of the statewide Harriet Tubman mural project defended the artists choice. [Tubman] did not lead a revolution with a feather, said Blaise DeKaolo.
A Maryland native who led slaves to freedom, Tubman is the subject of five murals to be installed throughout the state this summer, one in her birthplace of Cambridge.
There is a lot of irony to this story. The Sun reported that through a national Millennial Treasures campaign launched by Hillary Rodham Clinton, Baltimore Clayworks won a $25,000 grant to develop the Harriet Tubman motif. The ceramics center chose Alewitz, who lives in New Jersey, from a national pool of hundreds of artists. He designed all five murals.
If Associated refuses to take the mural as Alewitz conceived it, Baltimore Clayworks will find another site for it in the city, said Deborah Bedwell, the executive director.
Alewitz and Baltimore Clayworks deserve credit for resisting the pressure to rewrite history.
Apparently, actor Mel Gibson and Sony Corporation, the producers of the new movie Patriot, due to open nationwide before the July 4th holiday, will also have a chance to stand their ground.
The Drudge Report in early June said that a screening of Sonys Patriot in Los Angeles left the audience jumping about scenes in the Revolutionary War film that depict young children carrying gunsand using them!
The controversial scene begins when Gibsons character reaches into a chest and gives his sons rifles.
They go into woods and ambush the Redcoats, killing around 15 men. One son is around 13 years old, the other is 10, says an insider.
A loud gasp was heard in the screening room as the camera zoomed in for a close-up of the kids. Shots are fired. Blood splatters on Redcoats.
Mel Gibson defended the scene, declaring that he would let his own kids take up firearms in self-defense. Gibson says hes taken his children to shooting ranges.
In the movie, Gibson goes to war only after one of his sons is killed.
Screenwriter Robert Rodat attempts to portray the complexities of war, as he did with Saving Private Ryan.
This war will be fought not on the frontier nor on distant battlefields, but among our homes. Our children will learn of it from their own eyes... says Gibsons character, Benjamin Martin, in Patriot.
Gun Issue Debate
The movies themetake arms up against those who would take your armsis bound to stir the national debate over gun control, the Drudge Report noted.
Producer/Director Roland Emmerich conceded that the film may become a rallying call for pro-gun advocates and militias.
Rosie ODonnell and Hillary Clinton may want to spend the holiday checking out Perfect Storm, laughed a viewer after the screening.
ODonnell and Clinton may not be the only ones who want to deny or hide our heritage and our history.
One can only wonder whether these folks are being politically correct or downright traitorous to the memory of those who gave their lives during the American Revolution and all of the wars that have preserved the philosophy embodied in the Declaration of Independence and codified in the Constitution.
Tubman, like many others who have striven for true freedom, was armed. So were the leaders and participants of the 1960s Civil Rights marches. Without those arms, they would have been denied just like the World War I Bonus Marchers of the 1930s.
Happy Fourth of July!
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