I’ve been astounded recently by the way the left has been so successful at using “hate speech” and school shootings to convince young people to demand that their own First and Second Amendment rights be taken away. Somehow, they have managed to bamboozle a large slice of the young generation into simultaneously believing that they are wise and mature enough to start voting and even writing laws at 16; yet they are so childish and irresponsible, they can’t be trusted to handle a firearm until they’re 21 or to hear an opposing opinion without rushing to a safe space to cuddle a puppy.
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When young people don’t know their rights, where those rights came from, and how much was sacrificed to secure them, it’s easy to convince them to trade them away for empty promises of comfort and security. These days, students barely learn the most basic facts about American history, let alone all the great stories you discover when you dig into the details. This seems like the perfect week for a lesson in how America came to be born. And I’ll try to put it into terms they can relate to.
Maybe – possibly – today’s students can identify Paul Revere (although I doubt they had to memorize the poem, the way we did.) But how many know there was another heroic midnight rider who warned that the British were coming, only this one was a teenage girl from Duchess County, New York? She’s just one of many American heroes that kids don’t learn about because modern textbooks scrub history of everything interesting or inspiring to promote trendy social and political agendas that downgrade America. But kids, history is simply everything that ever happened to everyone before you came on the scene. Seek it out. Trust me: it can be pretty cool, and you can actually learn things from it.
For instance, listen, my children, and you shall hear of the midnight ride of…Sybil Ludington? As the oldest of 11 children, Sybil had to take on a lot of responsibility at a young age. She was barely 16 on the night of April 26, 1777. She had just tucked all her siblings into bed when, suddenly, there came an urgent knock at the door. It was a messenger, coming to warn her father, Col. Henry Ludington, that British troops were invading.
His troops weren’t expecting an attack and were scattered all over the countryside. Gathering them meant a dangerous ride over pitch black roads, through enemy soldiers, wild animals and hostile Indians (sorry: “Native Americans.”) Understandably, the messenger refused an order to go. But Sybil volunteered. Her father protested, but she pointed out that she knew where all his men lived. As any father of a strong-willed daughter will recognize, he’d long since learned that arguing with her was futile. So Sybil mounted up and rode off.
It was a rainy night. The British had already set nearby Danbury, Connecticut, on fire, and the flames cast an eerie, red glow on the fog. It spurred Sybil on as she galloped from house to house, banging on doors and shouting that the British were coming. According to legend, at one point, a highway robber tried to intercept Sybil, but she raised her father’s musket and sent him running. Yet another reason why teenagers should think twice before demanding that the Second Amendment be taken away from them.
By dawn, Sybil and her horse were cold, wet and exhausted. She’d roused over 400 troops, who joined the Battle of Ridgefield and helped drive the British all the way back to Long Island Sound. Gen. Washington personally honored Sybil for her heroism.
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Today, there are historic markers all along her route, and statues of her in New York and Washington. But I’ll bet most young people never even heard of Sybil Ludington, a teenager much like them. Maybe it’s because nobody wrote a famous poem about her midnight ride -- even though it was over twice as long as Paul Revere’s.