Dear Mainstream Media Journalist,
You overlooked me January 6, surrounded as I was by the throng of patriots in Washington, D.C. Holding my makeshift sign - one part Orwellian warning, one part inspirational Bible verse—I hardly stood out, though I joined my voice with probably a million others, all aching after months to finally be heard.
Though you seem not to have seen the million of us, you labeled us rioters, domestic terrorists, insurrectionists, a mob. I confess I was offended, even felt a bit misunderstood. Sadly, after your breathless coverage of a relatively few scofflaws—many of whom do not appear even to have been of our group—your unwary audience may be forgiven for thinking my family and I endanger the Constitution of these United States. So with my apologies for the personal history lesson, your oversight compels me to share the reason we gave up three days to stand for freedom.
On a glorious fall day last October, my kids and I walked part of the path Paul Revere rode to carry news of the British Regulars’ march toward Concord and Lexington. It was enthralling to stand in the woods and on the hills where the fortitude of our motley minutemen birthed our nation. In Boston we saw the home Revere left behind to ride, and we gazed up at the steeple where church met state as two lanterns flickered out the message “By sea!” In cemeteries where both bit players and founding luminaries repose side by side, we stood with watery-eyed awe at the final resting places of Declaration signers, tea partiers, and lantern lighters—and Hancock, Adams, and Revere.
Which of these imagined he was heroic? How many others played parts so humble that their names are unknown—their valorous deeds unsung—yet Providence chose them to be difference-makers, leading them to turn the tide in small ways, until at last we were free?
At Valley Forge, I showed my children where my most-revered American, George Washington, suffered alongside his troops. I read to them how God shrouded our army in a dense fog while the general made his humiliating retreat from Long Island. I choked up when I recounted his courage at the Battle of Princeton, as he rallied scattering American troops, leading them into battle himself. When a great cloud of gun smoke enveloped him, his soldiers were certain he’d be killed. But as it cleared, there stood Washington tall astride his horse, victorious in battle, buoying patriot belief that America might really be free.
Our founders are long departed, but with each new attack on our American republic, I hope afresh that their sacrifices will not have been made in vain. I treasure above most other things the fidelity, the bravery, the selfless devotion they showed in fighting for our freedom. So I asked: How can one as ordinary as I am be their worthy heir?
I’ll never be a Washington, but I might be a Revere. And every time I stand for our country’s freedom, I do fancy myself following in the steps of past patriots great and small, who did what Providence set before them. It isn’t mine to know if the part I’m assigned bears lasting import. But I will, as they did, do whatever is before me; perhaps the same Providence which, against all odds, called into existence the United States of America, will likewise multiply my loyalty and love of country to help save our Republic.
Thus it was I found myself amidst a like-minded patriot throng January 6 in Washington, which I wish you would have reported with even a fraction of the fervor you reserved for the acts of comparatively few true rioters. Of course I decry the ugly lawlessness at the Capitol, but the rioters were no more representative of the immense crowd of patriots amassed than Benedict Arnold was of the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War.
If forced to guess by current appearances, I’d wager we’ll not save our Republic, given its tragically tattered state. But perhaps Washington assumed the same as he surveyed his barefoot troops at Valley Forge, or the panicked retreat at Princeton. So when I think my efforts too feeble to count, or hopelessly doomed to defeat, I remember that Providence strengthened Washington, and I swell with new resolve. Squander the courage and honor that won for us our country, and the Providence that willed it so? I will not sit by when called to stand!
So since you never saw us there, a million patriots strong, I’ll have you know: My family loves these United States, and we pray daily that we won’t lose our Republic. But even if it’s lost, I’ve resolved that I will never give my children occasion to ask why I didn’t do whatever I could to preserve for them the freedom I’d been given. I owe that much to those who gifted it to me, and to those to whom I’m to gift it.
A modern-day patriot