“I believe in the United States of America as a government of the people, by the people, for the people; whose just powers are derived from the consent of the governed; a democracy in a republic; a sovereign Nation of many sovereign States; a perfect union, one and inseparable; established upon those principles of freedom, equality, justice, and humanity for which American patriots sacrificed their lives and fortunes. I therefore believe it is my duty to my country to love it, to support its Constitution, to obey its laws, to respect its flag, and to defend it against all enemies.”William Tyler Page, Clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives, April 3, 1918.
On Monday, representatives of the Continental Chapter of the Son’s of the American Revolution paid their respects by posting guards and colors at two hollowed memorial sites in the Philadelphia area. We started our day with a march through the city of Radnor, PA the final resting place of General Anthony Wayne. In 1776, Wayne led the Pennsylvania Line. Under Wayne’s leadership the Line soon became one of General Washington’s most reliable divisions. Around this time General Wayne earned the nickname “Mad Anthony.” Reportedly bestowed by an angry former confidant, the moniker stuck and Wayne’s men embraced it. In May 1779, Washington ordered Mad Anthony to storm Stony Point, New York and Wayne replied with gusto, “Issue the order, and I’ll storm hell!” Many consider the battle at Stony Point to be a decisive victory in the northern front against the British. For his heroics and masterful strategy (an attack which included a surprise midnight bayonet attack), Wayne received a Congressional Gold Medal.
Following this, we traveled to center city and paid our respects alongside the Daughters of the American Revolution as they laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Like its counterpart in Arlington Virginia, Philadelphia’s Washington’s Square is actually a cemetery holding the remains of over two thousand soldiers (both American and British). This is a fitting place for a Memorial Day remembrance since unlike an ordinary cemetery which focuses only on the dead, Washington’s Square is a park for the living where the dead are remembered. In 1793, President George Washington came the part to witness the first hot air balloon flight in North America and Philadelphians have long used the park for strolls and quiet walks. The park even contains a sycamore tree cloned from the original Moon Tree, a tree grown from seeds taken to the Moon in 1971 by astronaut Stuart Roosa on Apollo XIV. The Tomb of the Unknown Revolutionary War Soldier, contains the remains of an unknown Revolutionary War soldier who perished in the fight for independence. An eternal flame honors the high price paid by soldiers in the name of freedom.
I know a lot of you focused on the start of the summer and a relaxation of the COVID-19 restrictions but Memorial Day should be about remembering those who gave there fullest to defend our most sacred ideals.