October 29, 2004
Our goal is the creation and stewardship 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 patriots who respected Washington and Rochambeau, the ones who, if alive, would be working with us to honor them.
Crossing the Valley of Death
The American Revolution put to the test noble ideas and processes that never before seemed to work in practice: democracy, separation of church and state, written constitutions, and a limited, checked, and balanced government. A new social, political, and geographical mobility, together with a receptivity to new ways, made American society fertile ground for converting those ideas into actuality.
American entrepreneurs and corporate leaders know how difficult it is to turn new ideas and processes into a workable reality. Businessmen call it, “the valley of death.” It is a short period of time when the new idea is actualized, often needing what they call “Angels.” Angels are people and organization sponsors who have experience and resources for actualizing new products. The presence of these angels validates the likely success of the new product because they know how to transform challenges and setbacks by focusing on the end goals. They know how to use the valley of death is an incubator.
With the War of Independence, Americans went from the polite discussion of new ideas into the valley of death. It was an upheaval of profound significance in world history that cut loose imperial moorings and expanded the dimensions of human freedom.
Thomas Jefferson and Samuel and John Adams explained our reasons why. General Washington tumbled the walls of doubt with his strength to persist and courage to endure. General Rochambeau brought an army and a navy of Angels with the will to do and the soul to dare.
Into the valley of death French artillery volleyed and thundered. Once indefatigable, imperial rule cowered with General Cornwallis in a cold Yorktown cave as outside it stormed shot and shell. Continental soldiers and sappers plunged into the smoke, and through the lines they broke.
Jefferson later assured John Adams,
“the Flames kindled on the fourth of July” had spread over too much of the globe ever to be extinguished by the forces of despotism and reaction.”
Soon we too must enter the valley of death trying to snatch the Washington Rochambeau Revolutionary Route National Historic Trail (W3R NHT) from its jaws. Nothing unites us like a commonly perceived goal. Leadership and a team with passion and commitment are vital to our success. We need to be totally unified behind Connecticut Congressman John Larson who is our leader who will champion the W3R NHT in congress in 2005.
The W3R NHT has dimensions of tourism, environmental protection, national heritage preservation, and education. We can focus on sustaining American values and combating sprawl. Who is going to pay for the W3R NHT? It has already been bought and paid for with the patriots’ blood.
We need to contact corporate and other organization leaders and ask them to be Angels. Corporations along the trail should have an interest in the trail and will have many employees involved. Corporate sponsors would confer tremendous credibility to the W3R NHT and the legislation. Corporations with DC offices could take pride in supporting something of such enormous community value.
We have a very difficult task ahead of us. If it were easy there wouldn’t be just one Revolutionary War national historic trail in America. So accomplishing this task will be cause for great celebrations in 2005 and 2006.
From the desk of Serge G. Gabriel
Serge leads the Connecticut W3R organization and has helped start other state groups and a national umbrella organization.
“Dear Connecticut friends of Washington & Rochambeau, Please mark your calendar for this kick off meeting to be held in the Governor’s Chamber from noon to 2:00PM on Saturday, November 13th. Trust that you are taking the time to enjoy the beautiful Fall colors!”
From The Desk of President George Washington
March 11, 1792 – “I am sure that never was a people who had more reason to acknowledge a Divine interposition in their affairs than those of the United States; and I should be pained to believe that they have forgotten that agency which so often was manifested in the Revolution.”