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Proud to be an American

With the Independence Day, July 4th at hand it seems appropriate to put on hold talk about the Big Four: stocks, bonds, currencies and commodities. Instead, this week I would like to suggest a handful of movies to watch before or after any planned picnic or fireworks to watch. Certainly, the movies I selected will garner some moans, groans but hopefully a few hoorahs as well.

America has always been great contrary to what some would have you believe. Even before our independence and still a colony of Great Britain we enjoyed the highest standard of living in the entire world. And if you doubt that for one second, pick up a history book and learn about the past.

America was carved out of the wilderness and came into being by an enormous amount of self confidence, a long rifle and a broadaxe. And that leads me to an Independence Day movie well worth watching entitled, The “Last of the Mohicans” from 1992. In one scene, Duncan, an English Captain barking out to Cora the heroine, says, “And who empowered these colonials to pass judgment on England’s policies, and to come and go without so much as a “by your leave”? Cora quickly responds with fire in her eyes. “They do not live their lives “by your leave”! They hack it out of the wilderness with their own two hands, bearing their children along the way!”

Another movie to enjoy is, “1776”  a 1972 American musical drama film from the book of the same name by David McCullough.  Portions of the dialogue and some of the song lyrics were taken directly from the letters and memoirs of the actual participants of the Second Continental Congress.

Here are a few of my favorite quotes from “1776.” John Dickinson speaking about the American colonists, “Fortunately, the people maintain a higher regard for their mother country.” Benjamin Franklin quickly replies. “Higher, certainly, than she feels for them. Never was such a valuable possession so stupidly and recklessly managed, than this entire continent by the British crown. Our industry discouraged, our resources pillaged... worst of all our very character stifled. We’ve spawned a new race here, Mr. Dickinson. Rougher, simpler; more violent, more enterprising; less refined. We’re a new nationality. We require a new nation.”

And while John Adams, Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson wait outside the Chamber, Mr. Thomson is reading the Declaration of Independence to Second Continental Congress this conversation takes place. 

John Adams. “There’s nothing to fear; it’s a masterpiece. I’m to be congratulated.” Dr. Benjamin Franklin appearing surprised says, “You?” John Adams waving at Thomas Jefferson says, “For making him write it.”

Another Independence Day film to watch is, “The Patriot”, starring  Mel Gibson from the year 2000. The movie is worth watching just to see the hero on horseback holding a battered, patched up American flag waving in the wind ride to head of ragtag army of colonists-soldiers on the way to fight the British.

Here is a list of other patriotic movies to watch that will make you proud to be an American. “Saving Private Ryan” from 1998.” “Lincoln” from 2012. “Rocky IV” from 1985. “Yankee Doodle Dandy” from 1942. “Born on the Fourth of July” from 1989. “Forrest Gump” from 1994. “Glory” from 1989. “Miracle” from 2004. 

Do not shy from the movie “1776” despite being a musical. The film is loaded with towering historical figures that founded our nation. The film “Miracle” is about the 1980 United States Ice Hockey team and their coach that united the entire nation following a miraculous win over the Soviets at the Olympics. The film, “Yankee  Doodle Dandy’ is about George M. Cohan and his place in musical theater history because he wrote, “Over There, “The Yankee Doodle Boy” and “You’re A Grand Old Flag” over the course of his life.

Once all the movie watching has been done, or, before if you wish, find a copy of, “1776” by David McCullough. He wrote, “The year 1776, celebrated as the birth year of the nation and for the signing of the Declaration of Independence, was for those who carried the fight for independence forward a year of all-too-few victories, of sustained suffering, disease, hunger, desertion, cowardice, disillusionment, defeat, terrible discouragement, and fear, as they would never forget, but also of phenomenal courage and bedrock devotion to country, and that, too they would never forget.” 

The movies above will make you proud to be an American. And never let it be said that America was never great.

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