Evening Edition - June 28

June 28, 2020 |


Around the Fourth of July, we hear a lot of songs about all the great things about America: “God Bless America,” “God Bless The USA,” “America the Beautiful.” All week long, our resident musicologist Pat Reeder has been reminding us that there are many more we seldom hear. But before them all, even before “The Star-Spangled Banner,” there was the original American patriotic anthem, “Yankee Doodle.” But it didn’t start out as a celebration of Americans but as a mockery of them.

Since 1776, the song “Yankee Doodle” has been as much a symbol of America as the flag. Every child learns it from the cradle. But many of us grew up without ever knowing what it really means. Like, why did he call his cap macaroni? Did he use cheese for hair mousse? Well, I’ll finally give you the answers to those questions and more.

“Yankee Doodle” actually dates back long before 1776. It most likely started as a German nursery rhyme, since “dudel” is an Old German word for “fool.” It first became associated with America when British soldiers made up their own lyrics to it to mock the ragtag American Revolutionaries. That baffling line – “stuck a feather in his cap and called it macaroni” – makes sense when you know that a macaroni wig was one of those ridiculously large powdered wigs that dandies of the time wore. The Brits were ridiculing Americans as a bunch of hayseeds, so dumb they’d think sticking a feather in their hat would make them look sophisticated. Imagine a Huffington Post article about Trump voters from Alabama, and you’ll have a pretty good idea of just how much arrogant condescension they intended to convey with that.

Unfortunately for the British, it turned out wars weren’t settled according to who had the spiffiest uniforms (in fact, red coats just made you a brighter target.) Those unfashionable Americans were fighting for their homes, their families and their freedom. So they did what Americans have done ever since: they took the ridicule aimed at them, threw it back in the faces of those who mocked them, and got the last laugh.

The Americans took the song “Yankee Doodle” that was meant to belittle them and adopted it as their anthem. They marched to it in the streets, sang it in bars, and made up their own new lyrics to promote the cause of freedom and glorify leaders like General Washington, “upon his strapping stallion.” It wasn’t long before the British learned to dread the sound of that tune, especially when it was played on a fife and drum, accompanied by American militiamen. A Boston newspaper reported that Minutemen who captured two British officers forced them to dance to “Yankee Doodle” until they collapsed. After that, the Brits admitted that that mocking little song didn’t sound so sweet to them anymore.

Well, now you know how “Yankee Doodle” came to be the unofficial American battle anthem that later inspired another great patriotic song for this time of year, George M. Cohan’s “Yankee Doodle Dandy.” As Cohan proudly sang, “I’m a Yankee Doodle Dandy, a Yankee Doodle, do or die…A real live nephew of my Uncle Sam, Born on the Fourth of July!”

Of course, Cohan was actually born on the third of July. But that’s another story for another day.


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.

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.

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.


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Comments 26-50 of 90

  • Richard Boultinghouse

    06/29/2020 12:12 AM

    Great piece of history, I had never heard this before.

  • Adelyn Krings

    06/28/2020 11:57 PM

    Thank you Mr. Huckabee!
    It's enjoyable to read positive and encouraging words.
    God bless you!!!

  • Ruth Long

    06/28/2020 11:42 PM

    I watch your show every week Gov. and LOVE it!! You have many great and inspirational guests on your show! Thank you for a wholesome, family show!
    I live near Hershey, Pa..."The Sweetest place on earth"! And I actually graduated from Hershey High School (1959...A LONG time ago!). I also enjoy your interviews on Fox News! The only news station that I do watch!! Keep up the great work!

  • Gary Stilwell

    06/28/2020 11:36 PM

    Mr. Huckabee, Never heard of Sybil before this---thank you so much for posting--something I will research more to help my grand-daughter---

  • Carole Reeser

    06/28/2020 10:21 PM

    Tears running down my face because I don't understand the hatred we are experiencing from the left.God have mercy!

  • Eleanor Allert

    06/28/2020 10:12 PM

    What a beautiful story! Would that we could inspire our young people that and others like it. The trashy stories of history that they're being told now lead them into debauchery. May the Lord help us to rescue many of them!

  • Ed Johnson

    06/28/2020 10:06 PM

    Who reimburses General Flynn for the cost to defend himself against the false and made-up charges?

  • Don Endicott

    06/28/2020 10:01 PM

    Starting to school in 1936 I studied a lot of history but did not remember of hearing about Sybil. Thank you for relating it. She may have been mentioned in the book Washington's Secret Six do nor recall for sure. I recall a girl being told about so it was probably her.

  • larry rippere

    06/28/2020 09:53 PM

    Yikes, Mike! Even though I'm 77 and was raised on Long Island (went to Nathan Hale Elementary School) real close to the Long Island Sound (my nickname for some time!), I had never heard of young Sybil... or at least don't remember hearing of her.
    You say there are statues of her in New York and Washington. Let us pray that they ARE there... rather than WERE there!

  • Jeffrey Buttke

    06/28/2020 09:47 PM

    Thank you so much for the very apt reminders! In high school, I hated history because the teach read a pre-written lesson, and was as boring as a glass of water!
    In college the most interesting history professor that made it come alive for me, I'll always be thankful for him. Now, I love to read and study history, too bad I almost missed it all!

  • Joseph D Hedrick

    06/28/2020 09:46 PM

    Governor Huckabee

    Thank you for reminding me of that history lesson, I had forgotten about that! And you are right these kids today need to be taught our nations history for it is a history worth knowing. Thank you for all that you do.


  • Peter Myrice

    06/28/2020 09:39 PM

    Well said. Let them put that in their hat and smoke it!

  • Sonia Gonzales

    06/28/2020 08:52 PM

    Excellent, wonderful history! I wish every student and older persons like me could be required to read your story. Many thanks & blessings for writing this! Stay safe and God Bless!

  • Sara Mills

    06/28/2020 08:28 PM

    This is the one of the most ridiculous things I’ve heard from these morons this year! I certainly hope our government doesn’t allow this to happen. My communist cousin thinks Imagine is a wonderful song but then he’s a communist. So are all these morons who want to make it our national anthem. It has nothing to do with America and how my ancestors helped fight to free this country from tyranny!

  • Kathleen Kemmer

    06/28/2020 08:12 PM

    In the morning when I wake up, Your newsletter is the first thing I read. Including the Bible verse...which I then look up in my NIV. The last thing I do before going to bed is to read your evening edition, and re-read the Bible Verse. You are an American treasure! I thought I was pretty savvy about knowing history, having gone to a great Catholic grammar school before all these lefty loonies began erasing history. But, once again, I marvel at your command of our country's true history. Wow. I am inspired by this teenager who stood up for the LIFE of infant country. Yay!

  • Joseph Orsini PhD

    06/28/2020 08:05 PM

    Social Media should be made PUBLIC UTILITIES, and regulated like electric and other public utilities.

  • Jack blaylock

    06/28/2020 08:05 PM

    Always enjoy the huckster gospel

  • Floyd A Unger

    06/28/2020 08:01 PM

    Thank you for the very nice nice good news

  • Fred

    06/28/2020 07:57 PM

    Great story about Sybil. We need to reinstate and reinforce core curriculum to include US history and Social Studies. We had the best education in the 50s and 60s. RC nuns were excellent teachers and disciplinarians.

  • Mary Stasik

    06/28/2020 07:39 PM

    Thank you, Governor! This 66 year old woman learned something new today. Your story about Sybil Ludington made me want to read more about her and her family. What a big part her family and their descendants have played in developing our country!

  • Ivanka 2024

    06/28/2020 07:38 PM

    Hello Mike. I feel So Safe now that 16, 17 and 18 yr old white girls are dancing around suburbia holding blm signs. Nothing says
    " SAFE " like teenage white girls with blm signs. Gonna sleep Real Soundly tonight !

  • Cheryl Hutchins

    06/28/2020 07:37 PM

    I really enjoyed your email this evening.

  • Mike Heffernan

    06/28/2020 07:28 PM

    Uplifted by the historic account of Sybil and the Bible verse. Needed some good news during this turbulent time for our country. Praying daily for God to heal our country. God is always in control and His will, will be done.

  • Jo Cluck

    06/28/2020 07:28 PM

    Lovely change and learned something new about the word "doodle" or dudel!! Thanks. Always associated with my two little fox terriers named Dipsy & Doodle....another era and to a different rag-time tune! Have a blessed week!

  • John Gordan Musgrove

    06/28/2020 07:27 PM

    Another such hero was Jack Jouett who warned George Washington and other Virginians of British troops. I wrote a poem about it using the structure of “The midnight ride of Paul Revere”.