Although I didn’t become serious in my pursuit of woodworking until just a few years ago, i dabbled from time to time. My first real project was to build a desk. Before we got married in August 1976, I knew I would need a desk for our apartment at college that fall. So, with only my dad’s Skil saw, a hammer and nails and a bit of imagination, I built a desk out of plywood and pine boards. It was about 3 feet deep and 4 feet long, with three drawers. The photo below is the only one I could find that showed the desk. My niece and nephew are a lot better looking than the desk, but it served me well until I graduated from engineering school and we moved into our first house. I don’t remember whatever became of that desk, but I was pretty proud of what I had built.
I stumbled across a delightful website this morning, â€œRediscovering George Washington.â€ This site accompanies a 90-minute high-definition PBS documentary that originally aired nationally on July 4, 2002.
The following paragraphs from this site attempt to describe the father of our country:
"If he had lived in the days of superstition, he had been worshipped as a god," said Benjamin Rush, of George Washington.
"He has so happy a faculty of appearing to accommodate and yet carrying his point," wrote Abigail Adams, "that if he was really not one of the best-intentioned men in the world, he might be a very dangerous one."
George Washington won an eight-and-a-half year war against the mightiest military power on earth; he presided over the Constitutional Convention; and he served as first President for eight years. At the end of every assignment, he returned his power to the system which had honored him. He embodied America’s principles, both by taking charge effectively in war and peace, and by stepping down when the time came. He was, as James Thomas Flexner called him, "the indispensable man."
The pre-eminent positions that he held, the unrivalled honors he received, can only hint at the greatness of Washington. They are rays cast by the light of his greatness itself, the qualities of mind and character that shone brilliantly in all these positions and fully deserved all these honorsâ€”and more. The three sections here introduce readers to Washington’s greatness, call attention to some of his most striking qualities of mind and character, and suggest the significance of this great man for our generation, and for every generation, of Americans.
â€œThe time is now near at hand which must probably determine, whether Americans are to be, Freemen, or Slaves; whether they are to have any property they can call their own; whether their Houses, and Farms, are to be pillaged and destroyed, and they consigned to a State of Wretchedness from which no human efforts will probably deliver them. The fate of unborn Millions will now depend, under God, on the Courage and Conduct of this armyâ€”Our cruel and unrelenting Enemy leaves us no choice but a brave resistance, or the most abject submission; this is all we can expectâ€”We have therefore to resolve to conquer or die: Our own Countryâ€™s Honor, all call upon us for a vigorous and manly exertion, and if we now shamefully fail, we shall become infamous to the whole world. Let us therefore rely upon the goodness of the Cause, and the aid of the supreme Being, in whose hands Victory is, to animate and encourage us to great and noble Actionsâ€”The Eyes of all our Countrymen are now upon us, and we shall have their blessings, and praises, if happily we are the instruments of saving them from the Tyranny meditated against them. Let us therefore animate and encourage each other, and shew the whole world, that a Freeman contending for Liberty on his own ground is superior to any slavish mercenary on earth.â€
Whatever your political persuasion, I believe you must acknowledge that todayâ€™s special election in Massachusetts illustrates that a citizenâ€™s personal vote still holds sway in American politics. A fairly small percentage of the electorate in one small state has effected, perhaps profoundly, the balance of power in Congress, and has signaled a substantial change in momentum for a movement considered by many to be unstoppable but a short year ago.
In the end, it is the will of the American people, not that of career politicians, that will lead this great country forward.
May we all remember this example and exercise our freedom to vote whenever we get the chance.
Winston Churchill, British Statesman who served as United Kingdom Prime Minister from 1940 to 1945 and again from 1951 to 1955.
"Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must ever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force."
James Madison, Fourth President of the United States and â€œFather of the Constitutionâ€
PS: â€œchimericalâ€ = wildly fanciful; highly unrealistic