Back in the day, when I was a spry 10 year old..you know, back when we had to walk to school and back, in a blizzard, up hill both ways, a bunch of my neighborhood friends began to join the Colonial Williamsburg Fife and Drum Corps which meant, of course, I had to join as well. It was an experience and privilege that in many ways, set the tone for much of the rest of my life. I was part of the last of what was then, and apparently, is still now referred to as "The Old Corps". It was an incredible learning experience. Demands and expectations were extremely high and at times the experience itself was downright brutal.
But you're talking about a bunch of kids from Williamsburg, Virginia that are routinely called upon to greet dignitaries from home and across the globe. The list is long and through the adept hands of some that I had the pleasure to march with, it grows ever longer. Nixon, Ford, Carter, Hirohito (WWII Japanese Emperor), Sadat, Began, are some of the folks we played for while I was in the Corps.
For a taste, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VLjuGqm8aVQ&feature=related
(probably my all time favorite tune, York Fusiliers, is on this video...last tune)
Anyhow, that led to a long stint of working for the foundation essentially presenting and teaching part of the history of colonial Virginia and a as yet, unformed nation.
You cant spend 17 and a half years talking about and pseudo-living in the 18th century capitol of Virginia without at some point becoming amazed at the army of citizens that banded together to defeat an army of tyranny.
They were, for the most part, poor, ill equipped, under fed and under funded. But they prevailed because they stuck it out.
Many years ago I was a guest in the home of a remarkable historian, Harold Gill. His son Hal and I had been in the Corps together and now worked at the Geddy Foundry in Colonial Williamsburg reproducing 18th century, brass, bronze, pewter, and silver objects. The purpose being to educate the public and preserve the trade as it was practiced at the time.
As we all had a mutual interest in the War For Southern Independence (1861-1865) we began a discussion about Gettysburg. The question was, if you could take any one thing back to that battle, what would it be?
My response was a battery of 105mm Howitzers to march a line of fire toward the Federal lines. The thought being, you probably wouldn't have to kill anybody cause they'd run...
His response was radios.
I've never forgotten that response and the thoughts and message that came with it. Communication would have changed the course of the war.
Its been many a day since I donned my great coat and buckled shoes to carry a basket of newly finished bronze and silver down Duke of Gloucester Street within sight of the spot where Virginia became the first colony to declare independence from Britain.
Is it any coincidence that years later I find myself embroiled in, and teaching about, yet another struggle involving a tyrannical government and their dishonest allies? Perhaps, but this time it's not about what happened in the past. This time it's happening in real time, right in our own back yard.
The oft repeated phrase "the more things change, the more they stay the same" comes to mind. Lets examine the constituent elements.
One relatively poor, underfunded, barely organised citizen army, check!
Several overly funded, law breaking, "treaty" breaking, overzealous divisions of a tyrannical government, check!
And three divisions of unscrupulous "for profit" allies (think Hessians during the Rev War), check!
I think that pretty much sums it up.
Except this time, we have radios.
One of the most difficult parts of our years long fight for freedom and preservation of access at the Seashore has been communicating the truth and reality about what has been happening on these Islands. We sit and watch the mainstream media ignore all that we tell them while they take any utterance from the NPS and their allies to be gospel.
We suffer as Derb Carter stands in front of Judge Boyle and proudly proclaims that he and his ilk have stopped all progress on legislation that would restore management of the Seashore to levels more akin to those intended by the Congress as they established this place and the media doesn't blink; the true story remains unseen.
But, we do have radios.
Back in '02 as I was completing my university level course work to acquire certification as a Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer, we explored the workings of the Internet and learned about a theory called "the 12 degrees of separation".
The concept is that I/we, know somebody that knows somebody, that knows somebody that knows...etc and that virtually anybody in the developed world could be contacted via a chain of about 12 people.
So we're in a war for freedom and access and the Internet becomes our radio. And the more we post and re-post, the more we share our story and successfully encourage our friends to do the same, the more people are exposed to the travesty of lies, broken promises, and broken laws.
Since we cant get the help of mainstream media, it's up to us to take it to the people. We have at our disposal, facebook, for example. A free form of communication that enables us to quickly and effectively spread the word about what befalls us. Lets use it to our advantage. The "dark side" does.
It works! Let me share a letter I got just the other day via that very venue.
"Jeff, after learning more about the FEIS, I got to asking myself "What could I do"? I know its gonna take a boatload of cash to battle the dark side. There has got to be something that I could do from all the way up here in Ohio. Today alone I wrote a letter to President Obama and Jimmy Buffett. I've written letters to congress, state reps yadda yadda yadda... But I still feel the need to do something! I thought about having some sort of fundraiser up here in Ohio, but have no clue on how to pull that off. I've been involved with many charity/fund raising events in the past, but they were all local. How could I grab the attention of northeast Ohio, and get them to give a damn? Almost every day I see a car with an OBX sticker on it, and I bet the majority of the drivers of those cars have no clue what is going on down on HI. I ask you because you seem to be very knowledgeable, and you are one of the few who are on the front lines of this battle. I'm gonna keep racking my brain up here in the Buckeye State, meanwhile, if you think of anything that I can do from up here, let me know...
So what I ask and propose is that when you see a post about access, the bridge, or even the continuing hypocrisy of the "dark side", post it, share it, and strongly encourage your friends to do the same.
If all of us do this all of the time, the word will get out and maybe one day, it'll fall into the right hands and begin to raise some eyebrows so that something may be done to end this tyranny.
Yep, we've got radios Dr. Gill.