Skip to comments.DAD, WHAT's UNABHÄNGIGKEITSTAG?
Posted on 07/04/2019 2:55:35 AM PDT by nathanbedford
DAD, WHAT's UNABHÄNGIGKEITSTAG?
"Is that when the thirteen colonies broke away from England?" My ten year inquired out of nowhere at 6 AM German time this morning. "Yeah, why do you want to know, eat your breakfast," I mumbled, too sleepy to be very curious. "Because I am afraid my teacher will ask me, since I am wearing this T-shirt and I'm the only American in the class." With an effort, I adjusted my gaze upward to his white T-shirt. It was brand new. Prominent on his breast was an image of the flag and below that:
FREEDOM 2005 TRADITION
Waking up now, I reflected that if the Old Navy company could so shamelessly trade on the image of the flag, it ought in decency at least amend the line below to:
FREEDOM 2005 COMMERCE
But then I thought, what could be more traditional in America than commercializing the flag?
"Waddayamean, you're the only American in class, what's that got to do with the Fourth of July?" My paternal antennae were also coming to life. I remembered that the kids had sometimes returned from Gymnasium, German high school, and recited seemingly off-hand remarks from professors disparaging America and especially George Bush. Some of the hearsay reports had been pretty rough, describing America as killing Iraqis or causing global warming and the like.
"I think he will call on me to explain the Declaration of Indepencence to the whole class," masking his apprehension. "So, what will you tell them?"
"That is how we got free of England," he replied, in German. "That's right, as far as it goes. Never mind breakfast, lets get to the computer, it time to search FreeRepublic." A few minutes later we had a copy of the declaration printed out, with the font changed to italics for psuedo verisimilitude to the venerable document.
"There is actually a couple of ideas in here that are more important than announcing our break with England," I said, highlighting with a yellow marker this passage:
that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights
And this passage too:
Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed
"This means that who you are, what rights you have, come directly from God and not from the government. In fact, the government is there to serve you, as a child of God, not the other way around, and when the government takes away your rights, the government is not legitimate, and you can change it."
"What's legitimate?" Ah, " berechtigt," I answered. I must have gotten it right for he seemed satisfied with the translation and his Deutsch is better than mine. Handing him the printout, I said, "take this with you, read it on the bus, and when you get to class you tell them these ideas are America's gift to the world. A lot of people in Europe think your rights come from the government, not the other way around. No one had ever done this 'for real' before. Look what it says here just before where they signed it, it means they knew they were risking their lives:"
And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor
"OK, dad, see ya."
An hour later, his mother asked me, "Did you give him a printout of the Declaration of Independence?" "Yup," I proudly responded.
She laughed, "He said, 'Dad really expects me to read this on the school bus'"
For us, living as we do here in Germany, it is our way of holding fast to our America. Every year we keep the tradition and then await the reactions of FReepers which have been consistently gratifying and even heartwarming.
So the tradition goes on year after year even as the imperative to return to and cling to the principles of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution becomes more urgent as our country struggles to become great again in the midst of a terrible "fundamental transformation" imposed upon us, partly by stealth, partly the legacy of a marxist President and a political party which has lost its soul who openly despise the nation created by the very Declaration of Independence we revere today. Equally, they despise the man who wrote this timeless document, witness the announcement in Charlottesville Virginia that they would no longer celebrate the birthday of Thomas Jefferson.
The 10 year old boy in the anecdote exchanged his Tee shirt for a tie and a real suit six years ago and we all went proudly off to his high school graduation, his Abschluss from Gymnasium. Our parental expectations had been, to paraphrase John Kennedy, to send him into the world and onto college equipped with the best of both worlds, a German education and an American birthright, bequeathed to him by the founders in the Declaration of Independence.
He has a piece of paper, written out in German, certifying his accomplishment of the course of study laid out in an elite German high school. There is a piece of parchment reposing in the Library of Congress drafted by Thomas Jefferson but written in blood at Valley Forge, Gettysburg, Belleau Wood, Iwo Jima, Chosen Reservoir, Tet, the Persian Gulf, and Afghanistan.
Both belong to him.... If he can keep them.
Happy Independence Day to all from all of us in Germany!
Did you really expect a teenage boy to understand what usurpations meant?
It's the day the Unabhängigkeitserklärung was ratified. Duh! :-). Ah German, is there nothing it can't explain in a paragraph long word?
Love it! Thanks Nathan.
Indeed it is revealing to our souls to live in Europe and see how they do not understand Ametica and freedom. Your writing describes it very well. Europe Peon indeed.
Enjoy a beer and pig fat on fresh baked bread for me...
Thanks for posting this again
I am curious does the ghost of WW2 haunt Germany?
I”ve always enjoyed your reposting of this NB. I can’t seem to recall ever hearing what happened to the lad that day at school and if he actually got called upon to explain it. Was there an afterward you could share?
Loyalty and Liberty
A family run ice-Cream/ burger joined used to have these printed up as handouts around the Fourth:
What happened to the signers of the Declaration of Independence?
This is the Price They Paid
Have you ever wondered what happened to the 56 men who signed the Declaration of Independence?
Five signers were captured by the British as traitors, and tortured before they died. Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned. Two lost their sons in the revolutionary army, another had two sons captured. Nine of the 56 fought and died from wounds or hardships of the revolutionary war.
They signed and they pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor.
What kind of men were they? Twenty-four were lawyers and jurists. Eleven were merchants, nine were farmers and large plantation owners, men of means, well educated. But they signed the Declaration of Independence knowing full well that the penalty would be death if they were captured.
Carter Braxton of Virginia, a wealthy planter and trader, saw his ships swept from the seas by the British Navy. He sold his home and properties to pay his debts, and died in rags.
Thomas McKeam was so hounded by the British that he was forced to move his family almost constantly. He served in the Congress without pay, and his family was kept in hiding. His possessions were taken from him, and poverty was his reward.
Vandals or soldiers or both, looted the properties of Ellery, Clymer, Hall, Walton, Gwinnett, Heyward, Ruttledge, and Middleton.
At the battle of Yorktown, Thomas Nelson Jr., noted that the British General Cornwallis had taken over the Nelson home for his headquarters. The owner quietly urged General George Washington to open fire. The home was destroyed, and Nelson died bankrupt.
Francis Lewis had his home and properties destroyed. The enemy jailed his wife, and she died within a few months.
John Hart was driven from his wifes bedside as she was dying. Their 13 children fled for their lives. His fields and his gristmill were laid to waste. For more than a year he lived in forests and caves, returning home to find his wife dead and his children vanished. A few weeks later he died from exhaustion and a broken heart. Norris and Livingston suffered similar fates.
Such were the stories and sacrifices of the American Revolution. These were not wild eyed, rabble-rousing ruffians. They were soft-spoken men of means and education. They had security, but they valued liberty more. Standing tall, straight, and unwavering, they pledged: For the support of this declaration, with firm reliance on the protection of the divine providence, we mutually pledge to each other, our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.
These brave men gave so much and yet so many of us today care so little or not at all.
It is truly heart breaking.
Most of my moms Virginia roots go back to Germany.Her brother was Bedford.
Happy Fourth to you.
My son is sort of dating a German Girl.
I live in Germany as well! In the village of Queidersbach, close to Ramstein. So theres two Freepers here at least!
PeaceAndLove, PeaceAndLove, PeaceAndLove.
General bookmark . . .
This is the first year I’ve seen this. Very nice! Made me all verklempt! Happy 4th to you and your family!
Nice bit of writing.
Good job, all around!