As I've been puttering around today, looking out the windows at sights like the above, and preparing for a get together we're having at the house tonight, I've been listening to the audio version of Don't Know Much about American History by Kenneth C. Davis. Drier than I expected, but still worthwhile. It's not really anti-American, actually, but I know the value of a good buzzword.
Join me in disillusionment:
Nathaniel Hale, martyr of the American cause, probably didn't say "I only regret that I have but one life to give for my country." An invention of the good ol' free press, likely.
Paul Revere got so far on his midnight ride as to warn Hancock and Adams in Lexington that "The regulars are coming out!" (not even the British regulars? c'mon Revere) but was then captured by British patrol and never actually made it to Concord. Boo.
Betsy Ross probably didn't have much to do with the first flag. The story comes from her grandson, William J. Canby. But then, why ever would a family member fabricate a story to make his family part of a successful revolution's legends?
George Washington didn't chop down a cherry tree, and he probably was too harsh to be very well-loved by his men in general. Just by his more well-fed officers. Sheesh.
I have picked up some fun tidbits, however:
Benedict Arnold was considered an American hero for assisting in the Battle of Saratoga which turned the tide of war. There's still a statue of his boot there. Poor dude, he just felt under-appreciated....
As Washington set out across the Delaware on Christmas Day in a boat with Harry Knox, he said "Shift that fat ass, Harry, but don't swamp the damn boat."
Several women really did manage to dress up as men and pass themselves off in the Continental army. Mary Scaberry did until she came down with a fever and was discovered. She was dismissed for "Sexual incompatibility and fever."
There ya are. Pass those around at parties.
Apologies to my non-American blog friends, who may or may not have known what these refer to. I value you!