W3R, Newsletter No. 62, January 4, 2009
Editor Hans DePold, Bolton Town Historian
Our goal is the creation and stewardship of the Washington Rochambeau Revolutionary Route National Historic Trail (W3RNHT) 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
2009 is the year for the passage of the W3RNHT
In the latter part of 2007 I wrote about the urgency to get the bill out of committee and started on its course because economic difficulties were coming. In Newsletter No. 58 September 11, 2007,
“An optimist, or perhaps a cynic, under normal circumstances might say that a bill such as the Washington Rochambeau Revolutionary Route National Historic Trail is most likely to pass in an election year when motherhood, apple pie, and national heritage are most in political demand. That would normally be an even numbered year like next year (2008)… not this year (2007). But the credit crunch, our fiscal deficits, our balance of trade, and our aging infrastructure of bridges and levees are just beginning to compete with and threaten the creation of any heritage infrastructure like the W3R. Therefore we cannot blindly expect to be able to pass the W3R National Historic Trail next year (2008) — or the next — if we fail this year. Evidence is beginning to show that this year is the best chance we may ever have for the passage of the W3R bills. But HR 1286 is now stalled in subcommittee, and without a favorable report out of the House subcommittee the W3RNHT will not come up for a vote this year.”
Basically 2007 was the first year we could introduce the bill to create the W3R NHT because the National Park Service in early 2007 completed their excellent report and had just recommended to Congress that the Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route, National Historic Trail (W3R NHT) be created. We still had to get the bill out of the House committee or it would die in committee as most bills do. I wrote that just two months before the stock market began to implode. 2008 was a year of congressional and economic turmoil and the “super-bills” with some twenty NPS trails and other environmental projects went unattended.
But this year all the NPS trail bills (and perhaps the stock market) should do better and it will likely be the best opportunity we have to pass green infrastructure bills like the Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route, National Historic Trail because:
1) At this moment the future administration is drafting legislation for a green economic stimulation package.
2) President elect Barack Obama favors green things and things don’t get greener than NPS trails.
3) Vice president elect Joseph Biden co-signed our W3R NHT bill.
4) Future Secretary of the State Hilary Clinton co-signed our W3R NHT bill.
5) The Washington Rochambeau Revolutionary Route National Historic Trail is the kind of gesture the new administration needs for rapprochement with our European allies and to return French fries to the congressional dining menu.
6) Senator Joseph Lieberman, our original senate champion for the W3R NHT is back in good graces with president-elect Obama’s team after two years on the outside.
7) House speaker Nancy Pelosi told the CT delegation she supported the W3R NHT.
8) The W3R NHT will help bring tourism back to the USA in these troubling times while the dollar is such a good bargain abroad.
9) Congress and the new administration seem ready to work together this year.
10) Infrastructure bills could have the economy turning around this year.
Our W3R newsletters which the SAR has archived for your convenience offer numerous reasons supporters can borrow to write and ask the new administration for the quick passage of all the NPS trail bills. NPS administration will cost only $300,000 per year because state, local, and private groups all have a commensurate interest in the success of the W3R NHT tourism infrastructure and theme.
Some interesting review reading:
Let us be the first to write this year to our new president, vice president, Secretary of State and our state Senators and Congressmen. I plan to get my letters out before the new administration takes office. Let us use the National W3R Association web site of Kim Burdick to keep abreast of the successful congressional designation of Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route, National Historic Trail this year. My letters will be personalized and I plan to send copies of some of the letters to all I write to.
Dear future Secretary of the State, Hillary Clinton,
Thank you for your continued support for the Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route, National Historic Trail bill which after 225 years recognizes our European friends who made our independent republic possible.
When General Eisenhower paused at the gates of Paris to let General De Gaulle and the French liberation army enter and liberate Paris many Americans watched in disbelief. Why after the Americans took heavy casualties in the liberation of France did we let De Gaulle take the glory?
Well it turned out that General Eisenhower knew his history of the American Revolution and of the alliance General Washington and General Rochambeau fought under. Just as General Eisenhower allowed General De Gaulle to liberate Paris, General Rochambeau declined the sword of British General Cornwallis to let General Washington accept the surrender and claim America’s liberation and victory of Yorktown.
“Here in America we are descended in blood and in spirit from revolutionists and rebels – men and women who dare to dissent from accepted doctrine.” — Dwight David Eisenhower, 34th US President
General Washington and General Rochambeau led their soldiers with a delight in liberty, while their voices always remained the measured voices of civilization. The Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route National Historic Trail does not commemorate a battle; it commemorates the extraordinary journey that France and the United States took together as social freedom and national democracy first emerged. It also recalls the Spanish, Dutch and German support for America and the British decision to give America her independence. King George III faced five colonial rebellions during his reign and the rebellion for American independence was the only one that Britain, the most powerful nation in the world at that time, decided not to crush. We appreciate Britain very much for that decision.
Dear President Elect Barack Obama,
In 1838 Abraham Lincoln gave his Lyceum speech where he indicated that slavery remained a spot of tyranny on America’s ideals that made a sham of equal rights and civil liberty. He emphasized the importance of remembering the pillars of the temple of American liberty, people like George Washington. He said,
“They were the pillars of the temple of liberty; and now, that they have crumbled away, that temple must fall, unless we, their descendants, supply their places with other pillars, hewn from the solid quarry of sober reason. Reason, cold, calculating, unimpassioned reason, must furnish all the materials for our future support and defense.– Let those materials be molded into general intelligence, sound morality, and in particular, a reverence for the constitution and laws: and, that we improved to the last; that we remained free to the last; that we revered his name to the last; that, during his long sleep, we permitted no hostile foot to pass over or desecrate his resting place; (til) the last trump(et) shall awaken our WASHINGTON.”
President Lincoln saw that the purpose of each generation of Americans is to transmit our ideals unprofaned to the next generation. He said Americans do that out of gratitude to our founding fathers, for justice to ourselves, and as a duty to posterity. He said it is out of our love for mankind that Americans cannot abandon America’s ideals. That was the tone he set for us until this day.
Washington showed that America had not just changed governments, but that it was within the capacity of human character to decline absolute power and to work together democratically for the common good. And now when many Americans have concern for by our historic relationship with our British, French, German, and Spanish allies… there is no better time to recognize the debt of gratitude we owe that first great alliance of the willing… for our own liberty.
Without Washington and Rochambeau… America would not have been able to return the favor and to liberate Europe in two world wars.
Senators Joseph Biden, Hilary Clinton, and Joseph Lieberman are among the many who have co signed the bill to create this trail.
Please include all the NPS trails in the stimulation package this year as well as the Washington Rochambeau Revolutionary Route National Historic Trail.
National Historical Organizations
Now is the time for national historical organizations to come to the aid of our country. Please write the new president, V-P, Secretary of State and the Senate and house leadership imploring them to recognize Generals George Washington and Rochambeau and America’s revolutionary road.
Give our supporters something to remember.
Last year the Connecticut Society of the Cincinnati has provided a grant of $500 for seed money to have something memorable of value that calls attention to the W3R. The reduced size copies of Rochambeau’s personal map were not selected because it was just his map of Connecticut. Instead the prints will be of the W3R commemorative stamps the coats of arms and the W3R symbol. We hope to have these copies available soon for an early start this year.
History Press published my book, Bolton: Historic Tales
as part of their American Chronicles series. It contains sections on the W3R.
Further information can be found at:
It Takes Three Years and a village
We introduced bills to the Connecticut Legislature three times before $85,000 was granted to document the W3R route and campsites in Connecticut in the year 1998. A year later we had our first national organization. Then in 2000 we got the W3R NHT study bill passed, about four states organized, and we bought Camp 5 for $1.3 Million with CT and Bolton funding. Now we have introduced Federal legislation in 2007, 2008, and soon 2009. Three years is enough. Three years and a village full of supporters is all it should take. Let us get the job done in 2009 and let us get started immediately before the federal stimulation package is drafted. And let us unite and work to get all the NPS trail bills passed this year.
Please forward this to all people who you think would support the W3R NHT
Happy New Year!