Taking the Heights: A Call to Action

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“As the season is now fast approaching when every man must expect to be drawn into the field of action, it is highly necessary that he should prepare his mind, as well as everything necessary for it. It is a noble cause we are engaged in, it is the cause of virtue and mankind, every temporal advantage and comfort to us, and our posterity depends upon the vigor of our exertions.”

George Washington, orders to the troops before taking Dorchester Heights

Every summer my wife encourages our family in a summer reading book challenge. My list pales in comparison to most in my family, and I can make excuses for that, but that’s neither here nor there. My current book list lacks in light-reading titles. I began the summer finishing off C. S. Lewis’s That Hideous Strength and then split my reading over three books: Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (for teaching purposes), Frank Peretti’s This Present Darkness (you can’t tell me it’s not timely), and David McCullough’s 1776 (an intentional dive into our priceless, yet fragile history). Thank God that books, unlike monuments, are not being toppled as we speak, though Ray Bradbury prevents me from being too smug (see Fahrenheit 451).

For me, 1776 is an opportunity to read one of the greatest non-fiction writers of our time, to fulfill a promise to my wife, and to better appreciate those brave souls that rose up in the face of seemingly impossible odds to establish the great nation, The United States of America. The hordes today rebelling against the very freedoms they take for granted in places like Portland do not understand our history. Yet, in reading McCullough’s account, there’s also a sense of “nothing changes under the sun.” Deception, rioting, censorship, and arrogant leaders who care more for themselves than those they claim to serve existed at the founding of our nation as well. For us, then, there exists an invitation to learn, to understand the character of these noble patriots and the vision they shared that united them as one nation, despite clear differences, even before we became “One nation under God.”

Reading pages 88 through 97 especially, detailing Washington taking Dorchester Heights, deeply inspired me. The unbelievable story of Knox’s retrieval of cannons from Fort Ticonderoga followed up by the covert move to occupy the Heights that ultimately drove the British from Boston should be taught in every school across the nation, and it speaks volumes to our current struggle with tyrants and seemingly impossible odds. It’s a wake up call and a powerful reminder of what was best said by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in A Psalm of Life:

Lives of great men all remind us
   We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us
   Footprints on the sands of time;

Footprints, that perhaps another,
   Sailing o’er life’s solemn main,
A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
   Seeing, shall take heart again.

Let us, then, be up and doing,
   With a heart for any fate;
Still achieving, still pursuing,
   Learn to labor and to wait.

Take heart! Lives of great men (and women for those needlessly offended by the poem) have preceded us and it is not too late to leave a mark that will encourage others to take heart. All it requires is action, not sitting silent while Rome burns. It’s time to take the Heights!

Take the Heights

Vincent H. Anastasi 2020

It’s time to take the Heights,
displacing foes who see to forestall life.
We shall not rest
in dire distress
fomented by their lies!

It’s time to take the Heights,
rejecting calls to in our safety dwell.
From freedom’s bourne
we raise alarm
to shackled souls in cells!

It’s time to take the Heights,
though in the open we must make our move.
Let sheets of fire
fill fervid skies
while we our valor prove!

It’s time to take the Heights!
Let cannons thunder with rampageous roar!
Divert their eyes
’till banners rise
upon the hills once more!

It’s time to take the Heights,
to put down roots that to the bedrock cling,
then release seeds
borne on the breeze
of voices as we sing!

It’s time to take the Heights!
Let blind men scoff while we toil ever on.
By dawn’s first light
confound their sight
to see the remnant won!

Published by thedeepened

I am a lover of words - the way they sing together in neat or sprawling lines upon the page, conducted by the great wordsmiths of all time. The way a sudden turn of phrase or surprising combination of sounds resonates with the deep within me, causing pause: moments of reflection and appreciation that transcend the superficial babblings and paltry visions of the infantile. Here at the deepening ground, it is my intent to make time and space for the reflection, appreciation, and creative imaginings that sustain the human soul.

One thought on “Taking the Heights: A Call to Action

  1. Let sheets of fire
    fill fervid skies
    while we our valor prove! . . .

    Divert their eyes
    ’till banners rise
    upon the hills once more!

    Let blind men scoff while we toil ever on.
    By dawn’s first light
    confound their sight
    to see the remnant won!

    This makes the heart soar. Feeling it should eventually become song(with necessary tweaks for rhythmic purposes).

    I love what God is birthing through you right now 💚

    Liked by 1 person

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