When I was six my Dad took me to a breathtakingly grand old movie palace to see 'Johnny Tremain.' Vivid and fond are my memories of Dad and my memory of the film - and of pestering Dad with endless questions about what the characters were doing in the film...and why they were doing what they were doing. Without hesitation, my WWII veteran Dad whispered to me all the right answers and I've never forgotten them.
I just saw 'Johnny Tremain' again on DVD and from nostalgia - for Dad, for those times richly populated by exemplary WWII vets, for my youth, for the American spirit that has since been besmirched by the lamp-blacking sweep of academia's and media's insistence on blaming-and-shaming-America-first - I wept.
Never had I forgotten the song "The Sons of Liberty" and often, throughout my life, its tune has just popped into my head; and sometimes - I'm unashamed and downright proud to say - with belief and vigor I sing it as lustily as I can manage to. I wish kids and grown-ups could sing it in Burma, in Iran, in Saudi Arabia, in North Korea. Maybe if children there could see 'Johnny Tremain,' and sing "The Sons of Liberty," they wouldn't grow up to be serfs, losers, nihilists, and bitter mass-murderers.
Yah, so Disney simplified the book. From the film, as a wee first-grader, I got the book's stark, simple, central, eternal message in spades: liberty has a price no one dares to decline to stand up to pay, a price which everyone must, when the times require it of us, join hands to pay, one for all and all for one.
"And we are the Sons, yes, we are the Sons, The Sons of Liberty!" And don't you, and everybody else, ever forget it.
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