Ten years ago we got a crazy idea. It all began when we review Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s extraordinary poem, “Paul Revere’s Ride.” You substantially know a initial lines:
Listen, my children, and we shall hear
Of a midnight float of Paul Revere.
I’d never review many past that, yet when we did we was stunned: a poem was impossibly pleasing and inspiring. How had we missed it all these years? It was also really long! But it was so illusory that we couldn’t assistance wondering if my daughter and we competence try to memorize it together. Generations of Americans had memorized it. That used to be one of a ways we upheld on a informative story and distinguished what we all had in common as Americans.
So my daughter and we motionless to give it a shot. And amazingly we succeeded! Because she was seven, my daughter got it memorized before we did. And given we was not 7 we got choked adult during many of a nationalistic lines, that were deeply moving.
One thing a poem did was make me comprehend how many we had unsuccessful to conclude a pretentious republic in that we was absolved to be innate and grow up. Its lines reminded me of a outrageous sacrifices so many finished so that we could have a freedoms we have currently — freedoms many of us substantially take for granted.
I satisfied that my whole era had missed out on what prior generations had not: celebrating a mass of a republic and a heroes. The some-more we suspicion about it a some-more we satisfied it was a extensive mistake, one that we are now profitable for in many ways as a enlightenment and republic turn increasingly divided.
Being an American is something we need to learn and understand. We are not an racial or eremite group. America is a usually republic in a universe formed on an suspicion — leisure and self-government — so if we don’t know that suspicion and what sacrifices were finished to win that leisure and keep it for over dual centuries, how can we presumably continue to keep it? How can we call ourselves Americans?
So it’s a unhappy fact that given roughly a Sixties many of a schools have unsuccessful to learn us about who we are and since we should applaud it. Often we have usually focused on what we’ve finished wrong as a nation. Of march we should face a sins and a mistakes. But if we get stranded there, and don’t concentration on where we’ve come from and how we’ve overcome those sins and mistakes, we are truly to be pitied. Every nation has things to be unapproachable of and to celebrate. There’s a Greek motto that says: “If we don’t exaggerate about your home, it will tumble down and vanquish you.”
I came to a end that it’s critical that we learn a kids about a past — and generally about a heroes of a past. So we indeed wrote a whole book on this subject, patrician “If You Can Keep It: a Forgotten Promise of American Liberty”. As we competence expect, we persevere scarcely a whole section to articulate about “Paul Revere’s Ride.” And everywhere we go we speak about what’s in a book, and about my hopes of relocating a new era to adore this good country.
But dual months ago, we got another idea. Since we now have a inhabitant radio program, we thought, what if we sponsored a competition for kids to memorize “Paul Revere’s Ride”? The deadline for entries could be Apr 18th, a famous date in a poem. The problem was we got a suspicion so late that kids would hardly have 3 weeks to do it. But even if 5 kids took me adult on a outrageous challenge, it would be value it. So we announced a competition on a air. The many artistic and altogether best recitation of a poem would win. Naturally they’d have to post their entries on youtube.
I would take a leader — and their relatives — to cooking here in New York, where we live, and I’d also talk them on a radio module and give them sealed copies of roughly all of my books, and Eric Metaxas Show mugs and tee-shirts! I’m certain it was a tee-shirts that did a trick, given even yet there were usually 3 weeks, we got no reduction than fifty submissions — and all of a kids had memorized a whole poem! One of them was 4 years old! Did we discuss what a prolonged poem it is? we was staggered.
So many of a submissions were so superb there was roughly no approach to collect a winner! Several of them concerned props and costumes — and 3 of them featured tangible horses! One immature lady trafficked all a approach from Indiana to a Old North Church in Boston to film her recitation there! Two kids from Lithuania even sent in videos, as did one from Berlin, Germany! And one child shouted it while roving his bike! Some of it is also positively bust-a-gut hilarious! Whether conscious or not we will leave adult to you.
If we watched all fifty videos but a mangle it would take we 8 hours straight! So we suspicion we should make a fun gathering video featuring all of a kids who participated, in a hopes of removing we and your kids and your friends to watch it, so that maybe we would all get as vehement as we am about it — and maybe you’d even plea your possess kids to memorize it!
Well, that was my idea. Now it’s adult to you. we wish to make a video go viral and light a hint that will lift a flame of leisure onward, and I’ll need a assistance of thousands of Paul Revere’s like we and your kids to lift it.
Is that too trite for you? Tough luck. It’s a truth.
Now get riding, podners!
God magnify you. And God magnify America.
Eric Metaxas is a author of several bestselling books, including “Bonhoeffer” and “Amazing Grace.” His latest book is “If You Can Keep It: The Forgotten Promise of American Liberty” (Viking, Jun 14, 2016).