November 2, 2001

Our goal is the creation and sustaining of the Washington Rochambeau Revolutionary Route, National Historic Trail, that passes through Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland and Virginia, and the elevation to a higher level the quality of heritage preservation all along the route. This newsletter tries to represent the point of view of the honest and truthful patriots who respected Washington and Rochambeau, the ones who, if alive, would be working with us to honor them. Today we look to the SAR, the DAR, and the SOC as the arbiters of that standard of interpretation of the route’s events.

The Profound Horror of September 11

Groping with a totally incomprehensible event I came across this metaphor by John Gardner on the web:

It was said in the old days that every year Thor made a circle around Middle-earth, beating back the enemies of order. Every year, the circle occupied by gods and men grew smaller. The wisdom god, Woden, went out to the king of the trolls, got him in an armlock, and demanded to know of him how order might triumph over chaos. “Give me your left eye,” said the king of the trolls, “and I’ll tell you.”

Without hesitation, Woden gave up his left eye. “Now tell me!” Woden’s left eye was the last sure hope of gods and men in their kingdom of light surrounded on all sides by darkness. The troll said, “The secret is, Watch with both eyes!”

People all over the world have been deeply affected by the heinous events that occurred on September 11, 2001. There are no words to express the sadness in our hearts. The trolls have now been replaced by the Bin Ladens of the world. The line between civilization and insanity dims every time we are asked to give up a left eye to seek a better understanding of the terrorists’ reasons.

The unspeakable attack on the Trade Towers and the Pentagon made very real the madness of terrorism. It brought together a nation and a world committed to overcoming that new type of tyranny. It is at times like this that people appreciate the values America has held since Minuteman first became alarmed for liberty’s sake. American compassion, generosity, and support for the victims have been extraordinary.

As we struggle with the shock of those 9-11 acts, we remind ourselves that those who committed them represent hate, evil, repression, and death, and not an entire religious group or a single ethnic group. We cannot allow their hateful acts to make us more like them. It is said that our strength as a nation is rooted in the diversity of peoples who came to America because they loved God and life, and wanted to be free of intolerance, hate, and persecution. Tolerance now more than ever is essential.

The shock of the events has changed us forever. It will apparently be a long and difficult period, one that daily reminds us of the brevity and unpredictability of life. Our grief and our sympathies are with those we lost and all those who are suffering in body and spirit.

The W3R Committee Is Dead. Long Live the W3R

The W3R committee began on Dec 16, 1999. It was recognized as defunct by September 2001. It met only once… its organizational meeting. I am part of a team of five professionals in the MBA program at Rensselaer in Hartford, Connecticut, who have joined in a project to propose a type of organization best suited for advocating, implementing, and then sustaining the W3R.

As for the lessons learned from the first W3R committee, the problems were of a classic text book type. They include the lack of agreed upon clearly defined goals, and an oversized group that lacked cohesion. Leadership was installed and never led. Norms and bylaws were never adopted. A formal permanent corporate non-profit structure was never created.

No team rises without a challenge that is meaningful to those involved. A common set of demanding goals that the entire group considers important to achieve will lead most of the time to both performance and cohesion. Although we thought the W3R’s goal was the creation of the W3R National Historic Trail, the questions of when, by whom, and whose version of the historic events was never agreed upon. A high performance group needs to be cohesive with diversity meant to compensate and compliment, not to divide. All must agree on the group goals or the group becomes dysfunctional. Immediately, because of the enormous size (45 people to start) W3R committee cohesiveness evaporated and subgroups formed. One subgroup complained the W3R was moving too fast and when our congressional champions went into high gear, they appeared to counter the drive for letters of support. It immediately became clear that yet another subgroup had a rather low opinion of the American Founding Fathers and wanted a revised American history. There was another subgroup that appeared to be interest in personal recognition, titles, and control rather than leadership. Finally there has been the core group that I have led who supported the W3R congressional effort implicitly.

At the heart of the W3R effort has been the DAR, SAR, and SOC. They are the core groups that have taken part in every enduring Revolutionary War period historical project. The optimum size of high performing groups tends to be from five to nine people. Each of the nine states needs similarly effective state groups. Performance, however, is the primary objective of the W3R effort with teams now primarily the means, and sustaining statewide teams also the ends.