Divemedic recounts the incredible story of a bona fide American hero—a valiant and doughty warrior I’ve written about here myself. DM includes some aspects of the story, most notably a memorable quote, that I hadn’t heard before.
There are so many times that I have heard people, including myself, say that we are getting too old for the conflicts that are to come. It’s easy to think that the trials that we all see as inevitable are for young men, and let’s face it, many of us cannot consider ourselves to be young any longer. So let’s take comfort in the story of Samuel Whittemore.
Comfort? I hardly see it as comforting. Confers a YUGE burden of responsibility, and imposes a very real debt of awestruck gratitude, more like. At the very least, Whittemore’s story is enormously humbling for any present-day Real American with half a lick of sense and a knowledge of US history.
Samuel was not a young man when he enlisted in the Third Massachusetts Regiment and fought the French in Canada. He was 49 years old when he killed a French officer and took his sword as a war trophy.
Mr. Whittemore wasn’t done. He fought again against Chief Pontiac in the Great Lakes region at 67 years old as he led troops against the French and Indians. During that conflict, he took a pair of dueling pistols as war trophies.
For the next decade or so, he became a respected leader in the civic arena. He lobbied against the government, speaking out and being a general pain in the ass. He protested the government’s actions, complaining about this and that, went to meetings of government, and represented his town as a member of the Committee of Correspondence. That was how it came to be that, in 1772, Whittemore was one of the three contributors to Cambridge, Massachusetts’ statement in objection to the Tea Act:
If we cease to assert Our rights we shall dwindle into supineness and the chains of slavery shall be fast rivetted upon us
Then came the day when Samuel Whittemore’s family found him in his farm’s field, lying in a pool of blood, and even the town’s doctor didn’t believe that he would survive. British soldiers had left Samuel Whittemore in a pool of blood alongside a stone wall in Menotomy, Mass. after shooting the old farmer in the face, then bayoneted him at least six times and clubbed him, apparently, to death as they retreated from the skirmish at Lexington and Concord on April 19, 1775. Samuel was 78 years old.
Located near him were the bodies of three British soldiers: one shot by a musket, another by a dueling pistol, and a third run through with an ornate French sword.
Samuel survived that day, against all odds, and lived to the ripe old age of 96. He is currently buried in Arlington, Massachusetts.
This is the reason why we stand for the National Anthem, to honor men such as this.
Indubitably so. It’s to our everlasting disgrace that, were you to ask any random “American” schoolkid nowadays, he/she/its/zhir/zhimz would have no idea who Samuel Whittemore even was. Hell, he/she/its/zhir/zhimz parents wouldn’t know either. I very much doubt whether their teachers would.
As Founding Father Patrick Henry so unforgettably implored the flock at St John’s Church in Richmond:
Let us not, I beseech you, sir, deceive ourselves. Sir, we have done everything that could be done, to avert the storm which is now coming on. We have petitioned; we have remonstrated; we have supplicated; we have prostrated ourselves before the throne, and have implored its interposition to arrest the tyrannical hands of the ministry and Parliament. Our petitions have been slighted; our remonstrances have produced additional violence and insult; our supplications have been disregarded; and we have been spurned, with contempt, from the foot of the throne. In vain, after these things, may we indulge the fond hope of peace and reconciliation. There is no longer any room for hope. If we wish to be free, if we mean to preserve inviolate those inestimable privileges for which we have been so long contending, if we mean not basely to abandon the noble struggle in which we have been so long engaged, and which we have pledged ourselves never to abandon until the glorious object of our contest shall be obtained, we must fight! I repeat it, sir, we must fight! An appeal to arms and to the God of Hosts is all that is left us!
They tell us, sir, that we are weak; unable to cope with so formidable an adversary. But when shall we be stronger? Will it be the next week, or the next year? Will it be when we are totally disarmed, and when a British guard shall be stationed in every house? Shall we gather strength by irresolution and inaction? Shall we acquire the means of effectual resistance, by lying supinely on our backs, and hugging the delusive phantom of hope, until our enemies shall have bound us hand and foot? Sir, we are not weak if we make a proper use of those means which the God of nature hath placed in our power.
It is in vain, sir, to extenuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!
Amen. May we all draw strength from history, from the deeds of our glorious forebears; may we resolve to live up to their illustrious example. May the memory of that history, that example, never fade from our hearts and minds. In awakening Real Americans from their long, torporous slumber, Leftards know not what they have done. Let them reap the whirlwind, then, in fullest possible measure.
Came across his story a few years ago. Adopted him as my near geriatric hero. If we in that age group can accomplish half of what he did our country will be in good hands.