submitted by Dave Theriault
The Berlin July 4th Parade Committee has chosen – Heroes and Legends – for the theme of the 2017 Independence Day Parade. [private]Webster’s Dictionary defines a hero as a prominent or central personage in any remarkable action or event; hence, a great or illustrious person. A legend is defined as any wonderful story coming down from the past, not necessarily verifiable by historical record.
George Washington would certainly fall in the category of hero and the stuff of legend. The leader of the Continental Army in the American Revolution and the first U.S. president, Washington’s status as hero was cemented when, during the bitter, freezing night of December 25, 1776, he led his ragtag troops across the ice swollen Delaware River to surprise the Hessian troops encamped near Trenton, NJ. This victory reinvigorated the flagging spirit of the Revolution and remains the most important victory in the history of the United States. There are many more notable Americans who would also fall into the category of hero. Susan B. Anthony, a leading social reformer and women’s rights activist, could be considered a hero for her pivotal role in the suffrage movement. Another legend, Benjamin Franklin was a publisher, printer, scientist, diplomat, abolitionist and inventor. Franklin was our first Postmaster General and invented the idea of an American nation. He is one of our most quoted historical figures – “Fish and visitors smell in three days,” “Beer is proof that god loves us,” and “Nothing can be said to be certain except death and taxes,” are just a few of the famous quotes attributed to Franklin.
Jesse James may not be considered a hero, but is certainly a legend. Jesse and his brother Frank took up with the Younger Brothers gang and gained notoriety for robbing banks and trains but abstained from robbing “plain folk,” thereby gaining a “Robin Hood” image, although there is no evidence he and his gang shared their loot. Jesse was finally shot dead by one of his own gang for the reward money on James’ head.
In more recent history we find many modern day heroes and legendary figures. Rev. Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks and Malcom X figured prominently in the civil rights movement. Neil Armstrong, Sally Ride and John Glenn are legends in the exploration of space. Buddy Holly, Hank Williams Sr., Billie Holiday, Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix became legends of music while Albert Einstein, Frank Lloyd Wright and Steve Jobs became legends of physics, architecture and technology respectively.
The July 4th Parade Committee invites you to pay tribute to your favorite heroes and legends by entering a float in the annual Berlin Independence Day parade. The parade kicks off at 11 am on Tuesday, July 4, at the Berlin Elementary School. Please join in the fun! [/private]