Sunday, May 20, 2012

The Fighting Quaker

While it's true that Greensboro is a very green place in every sense of the word, the city's name was chosen to honor General Nathaniel Greene.  Natty Greene was a major general of the continental army during the Revolutionary War.  He was born to a Quaker family in 1742, and although his father discouraged him in "literary accomplishments" he educated himself in mathematics and law.  He is most remembered in Greensboro for leading his troops into battle against General Cornwallis at the Battle of Guilford Courthouse.  The location of this battle has been preserved and protected as a National Military Park.  Today I have some pictures of our recent visit to the park, along with some of my favorite Natty Greene quotes.  The quotes have helped me to resolve a recent inner conflict about the challenge our nation faces to protect and secure our southern border.  Nathaniel Greene was a Quaker and a pacifist, but eventually was led to act in opposition to his pacifist beliefs. 

Here are a few of my favorite Greene quotes:

"It had been happy for me if I could have lived a private life in peace and plenty, enjoying all the happiness that results from a well-tempered society founded on mutual esteem. But the injury done my country, and the chains of slavery forging for all posterity, calls me forth to defend our common rights, and repel the bold invaders of the sons of freedom." Nathanael Greene to his wife, Catharine Littlefield Greene.

 "We are soldiers who devote ourselves to arms not for the invasion of other countries, but for the defense of our own, not for the gratification of our private interests but for public security"

 "Learning is not virtue but the means to bring us an acquaintance with it. Integrity without knowledge is weak and useless, and knowledge without integrity is dangerous and dreadful. Let these be your motives to action through life, the relief of the distressed, the detection of frauds, the defeat of oppression, and diffusion of happiness."

To read more about the battle, click here.

The site of the battle is now a beautiful park with a canopy of trees so big that walking into the park feels like air conditioning even on a hot, humid day.  It is a sanctuary of sorts; people love to come here to ride bikes, run, walk their dogs, and simply drive through.  Picnics are not allowed, neither is sunbathing or other activities that one would normally do at a recreational park. We enjoy it because it's a quiet, cool refuge from the busy city traffic and intense sun.

Elliot loves to goof around.  I think he's trying to place a call.

I'm not sure what he heard inside the empty cannon.
So he must have left a message at the sound of the tone.
The children love Richard and listen to him talk about the history of the park and the natural things they encounter.
The children were interested in the story of the battle.
The battlefield.  Every year on May 15, there is a reenactment of the battle and a camp is set up for visitors to see how folks lived, worked and fought during the war.

The fighting Quaker stands tall.

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