Rare Daguerreotype of a Hessian aircraft captured near Trenton by General Washington.
In June of 1775, the Continental Congress created a unified Army out of the Revolutionary Forces encamped around Boston and New York, and named after the great George Washington, commander in chief. The Continental Army suffered a bitter winter of Valley Forge, found glory across the waters of the Delaware and seized victory from Cornwallis of Yorktown.
Our Army manned the air, it rammed the ramparts, it took over the airports, it did everything it had to do, and at Fort McHenry, under the rocket’s red glare it had nothing but victory. And when dawn came, their star-spangled banner waved defiant.
——Speech by President Trump.
Of course the Enemies of the People, the paid professional journalists, are calling in their pet experts this morning to explain to the American public that the British did not have airports during the Revolutionary War, which is the kind of valuable service that makes us recall why we need paid professional journalists.
Dr. Boli was born just after that war came to a successful conclusion (from the American point of view; from the British point of view it was not all that could have been hoped for), so he does not personally remember it; but he does remember the War of 1812 vividly, and he is quite sure that air power played at best a trivial role in that conflict. He is also sure that there was no Fort McHenry in the Revolutionary War; that was built when Dr. Boli was a strapping young lad of fifteen or so, which makes it quite modern in his eyes.
Dr. Boli was imagining the scene among the speechwriters on July 3. “He’ll never say that,” one of them is saying. The other says, “I’ll bet you a pizza he will.” “You’re on,” says the first.
But now that we have had our fun, if we examine the speech closely, we find that it is not an example of monumental historical ignorance. It is an example of why you treat your speechwriters well: because if you make their lives twenty-four hours a day of terror, all the good ones will quit, and you will be left with the ones who struggle to make a connected narrative out of the simplest facts. The speech was supposed to be about America’s victories in all its wars; it was simply mixed up and incoherent. A good writer would not have that problem, but the good writers have all found better jobs.