Friday, July 4, 2008

Photo Friday: Happy Birthday America

I am reading the current issue of U.S. News & World Report, which has a very interesting special section devoted to "Myths and Realities" of the American Revolution. All history has its myths; unfortunately, they often make for better reading than the reality.

One of the articles says most of Paul Revere's story has been embellished, but it was the subhead that caught my eye: "Every schoolchild knows the story, but most of it turns out to be wrong." Unfortunately, I don't think many -- if any at all -- of today's schoolchildren know the story.
As I pointed out in a post last year, historical illiteracy happens largely because history is taught as a dull collection of dates and facts, with no emphasis on the real, breathing people who forged that history. The historian David McCullough called much of today's history teaching "boring." It's no wonder modern students -- of any grade -- know so little of it. (Of course, it doesn't help that in today's culture, what happened last year is already "ancient history." Never mind the American Revolution -- wasn't that prehistoric times?)

No matter today; Happy Birthday, America! Since much of the American dream of independence and nationhood was built on hard work and sacrifice, here's a small photo tribute: an antique plow with a flag, photographed on the grounds of the Calkins Creek Vineyard and Winery near Honesdale, Pennsylvania. It may not be a Revolutionary era piece, but the kind of equipment that tilled the soil then remained the same for generations.


G's Cottage said...

While boredom is a factor the article overlooked an issue; more history has been written in the 40 years since we were in school. The events we remember as the news - Alan Shepard's launch, John Glenn's orbit, Kennedy's assassination, the Vietnam War and protests, Armstrong's moonwalk, Reagonomics, the Clinton impeachment hearings, and now 9/11 - are being rolled into US History classes which have not been lengthen to compensate.

Then there's the American textbook travesty. Don't get me started.

7sky said...

Point well made; but they haven't a clue about any history. McCullough referred to today's history texts as a collection of politically-correct mush. (Sorry, didn't mean to get you started.)