Sunday, June 12, 2005
WALLACE: What lessons do you hope Americans take away from the events of 1776?
MCCULLOUGH: That character counts; that courage is contagious, infectious; that we do truly have rights, freedoms, noble ideals and ideas, worth fighting for; that democracy doesn't come easy, never has; that the war with the longest struggle in our whole history, except for Vietnam; that it was bloody, and people suffered, hardships were terrible, but they didn't give up.
And I think also that some wars are necessary. I think one of the most interesting things about this year and the whole struggle altogether is the most -- the man who turned out to be our most effective, I'm inclined to say brilliant general was a Quaker, Nathaniel Greene. The man who expressed for the man in the ranks, for the common American, expressed what the war was about best, and who really was as important a force almost as Washington was Thomas Paine, who was a Quaker, who put aside his pacifist feelings, because, as he said, "The sun never shined on a cause of greater worth."
I also think we ought to know about these people, because we're taking stock, who we are, what do we believe in, what have we been through, at our own time of risk, danger, dark shadows hanging over the future, and come to the realization, others have been through worse, and this isn't new.
Churchill came over after Pearl Harbor, when Hitler was running wild, almost to Moscow, when we had lost half of our Navy at Pearl Harbor, when we had no air force, when recruits were drilling with wooden rifles, and Britain was virtually on her last legs, and he came over, and he gave a magnificent speech, in which he said, "We haven't journeyed this far because we're made of sugar candy."
Did anyone else feel David McCullough was making a political statement directed
at Americans of 2005?
[This message has been edited by Huan Yi (06-12-2005 10:37 PM).]