This 75-Year-Old High School Essay Will Blow You Away
Boxes and boxes came home with me after my stepfather’s funeral; long after my mother had passed. They were filled with the adventures, memories, accomplishments, dreams, important documents, and memorabilia from my mother’s life; most of which, I had never seen, and she had never spoken about.
To this day, I can rummage through and find things that I never truly noticed before. It’s a puzzle of history and mystery of my own heritage. But now and then, that something that I had never noticed before, turns out to be really special, and I’m astounded that I passed it over, how many times?
Rifling through a pile of random items looking for something else, I found the following 350-word essay by an Erie County Public High School girl, most likely from the late 1940’s or early 50’s. I have no idea how my mother came to be in possession of it, but as soon as I read it, I knew it needed to be shared with the world. I sat and read in awe of the young woman’s words, and lack of my own awareness that it was amongst my belongings.
The depth and brilliance that this high school student brings to the table with such eloquence, is wound and packed as neatly and tightly as Mohammad Ali’s right hook, with a different kind of ouch on the other end of it. An ouch that is a stark reminder of how far we’ve strayed from the guiding principles once so cherished, in this nation.
Listen up, America…this is a lesson you would do well to learn.
So, without further delay, I bring you the second, unknown, Dolly Madison; and I quote:
What Can We Do to Protect Our American Heritage?
by Dolly Madison
As surely as there is a bond of faith among the living, there exists a bond of faith among past, present, and future– Americanism unseen, but vitally alive. The past is a staff which enables us to surmount the obstacles of the present.
How better can we reflect the glory of by-gone eras and gain an understanding of our heritage than by recalling a lone, inspiring figure who gathered his people to his heart because his heart was with his people? With parental tenderness and boundless endurance Abraham Lincoln guided his infant charge along the furrows of faith and tolerance. America has prospered under the auspices of such humble men of high ideals and simple beliefs.
Selfish gain motivates much of the machinery of progress, while people’s longing for a universal peace is cast aside. Life is a shallow mockery if the spirit of brotherhood is stifled.
We must strengthen our hold on democracy, else the peoples of the earth will stagger blindly into a cunning snare contrived by the relentless forces which threaten our destruction.
We, of America, cannot expect the starving, whimpering nation to resist, but we can and must burn from its mind the filth of prejudice and bigotry.
We must learn that democracy is not easily won, that it is as evasive as the wild deer; yet, yielding as the rich, black earth, it brings forth the fruits of equality and righteousness. Is it not worth fighting for and believing in?
Ignorance breeds vice. To rid our vast country of graft and political corruption, the American people must keep informed. Truth only can rout out these cancers which distort the ideals, rot the foundations of today’s bulwark of free spirit.
Our voice[s] must be raised in defense of man’s rights, must be heard world-wide, if only to urge the moral sanctity we [should] live by.
The future is ours to navigate. The bond of living and dead steers our course. Preserve those unalienable rights which secure “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” and we eventually assure peace and security among men and for ages. (Madison, year unknown)
As I sit here and ponder this young lady’s mind-boggling wisdom for her years, I wonder where the profound thinkers among our youth, are today? The gap between the critical thinkers of the past, and now…is VAST, and not just in time…but in skill.
When I ask myself why, the only answer I can come up with, is the system we live in, has been designed to undermine the very skills necessary to unite this nation, and set it free from the tyrannical grip of the elite structure that holds her future hostage.
This girl was a real activist…an activist of heart and mind. The kind of heart and mind this world needs to see again, if it is ever to experience unity in its reach for “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
Thank you, Dolly Madison, wherever you are, for being well ahead of your years, and for coming back from the past to deliver this precious gift of a message, to a world that needs it now, more than ever.