In 1917, Martin Treptow lived in Cherokee, Iowa. He was a barber, a common man. In that year 1917, our United States was drawn into a horrible war, World War I and Martin Treptow enlisted.  He was a young man with his whole life in front of him, but he signed up to fight.

In December of that year, 1917, Private Treptow and his regiment landed in France.  He was a member of the famous “Rainbow Division”. His job was to carry important messages between battalions on the frontline — it was very dangerous — but Martin took on the job.

The men in Martin’s regiment noticed something about Martin – he carried a small notebook, a diary in his inside pocket.  He never talked about his writings but he was always noting in his diary.

Martin Treptow was a good soldier, he did his job well, and on July 29, 1918, while carrying a crucial message between battalions under heavy artillery fire, Martin Treptow, a common man, an Iowa Barber, Private Martin Treptow was killed in battle.  And when Martin’s dead body was found on the battlefield, as they searched through his pockets to find that message he was delivering — instead they found his diary, and in that diary there was a message — a message to be delivered to all of us here tonight.  At the top of the front page of his diary, it was titled “My Pledge”, and under it, these simple, common, powerful words:

“America must win this war.  Therefore

I will work,

I will save,

I will sacrifice,

I will endure,

I will fight cheerfully,

and do my utmost,

as if the issue of the whole struggle depended on me alone.”

Let us all take serious consideration of what our own “Pledge” to our America must be.

About Jerry Stewart

I am a story teller. Since 1998, I have been telling the true stories of our nation and those Americans gone before us.  To say the least, these stories have been well received by Americans, both young and old.  So, here’s where the stories have taken me.  In 1998, I was broadcasting my stories on just one radio station in Washington State.  Today, from Texas 15 years later, these programs are now broadcast through a syndicated radio network to over 400 radio stations all across America, with literally millions of listeners.

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“The Most Famous Tea Party in History”

    We’ve all heard of the Boston Tea Party, but few really know just what happened. The year was 1763 and Great Britain had just ended a war known as the “Seven Years War”, and this war had driven the British government so deep into debt that a series of tax laws were passed to help pay that debt – and these laws made their way to America.

Now, the way the colonists saw it was that they had no say or representation in their national government, and, therefore, Parliament had no right to tax them. This is where the saying came from, “no taxation without representation”.

Well, in 1766, Parliament passed what is called the “Declaratory Act”. This act gave the British government the authority to legislate the laws and rules for the American colonies, and in all cases the government had the final authority.

So, colonist groups began to organize at the grassroots level and they formed patriotic clubs and organizations known as the “Sons of Liberty”. They would use these club meetings to talk through their unfair circumstances and they began to send delegates and representatives to the British leaders to try and convince them that what they were doing was not for the good of the people. But the British government had their own ideas as to what was best for the people, so most of the time they would not even listen.

Starting to sound a little too familiar?


    So as the different Liberty groups in each city began to form and grow, they found themselves linking up with other city groups causing them to become bolder in their speaking out. In the City of Boston there was a famous elm tree where the Sons of Liberty would meet. This tree came to be known as the “Liberty Tree” and it became a rallying point for the growing colonist resistance against the British rule. Soon each city and community began to pick their own liberty tree as a meeting spot as a symbol of their individual liberty. As these liberty groups began to me in large numbers and the attendance began to grow, in their attempt to stop these meetings, the British government ordered that holding any meetings not authorized by the government was against the law. So, the Sons of Liberty members began to meet in secret.

Well, the struggle continued between the colonists and the British government with more and more laws being enacted. What seemed to be the final straw was that in 1773, a new act, the “Tea Act” was passed, placing a heavy tax on all tea transported to the colonies. Shortly after the Tea Act was passed, a number of ships entered Boston Harbor carrying on board hundreds of thousands of pounds of tea. When the local liberty group heard of the ship’s arrival, they sent a message to the ship’s captain not to unload the tea because they would not pay that tax. But the local British authorities would not budge, so there sat the three ships in Boston Harbor.

Now no one knows for sure who really planned that “tea party” or who the real leaders were, but one night somewhere between 30 and 130 Men thinly disguised as Indians boarded the three ships and, over the course of three hours, dumped all the tea into the harbor – this dumping of that tea became known as the “Boston Tea Party”. Interestingly enough, later that Tea Act was actually repealed, but the damage had already been done, and the people had determined that their government would not listen to them – and they began to move for independence.

So, here’s my question for you, “Are the events in our lives which make us wake up and act – are they good or bad?” It was patriot, Edmund Burke, who said, “He who wrestles with us strengthens our nerves and sharpens our skills; our antagonist is our helper”.

But this one thing we do know – if the British government had not pushed the colonists too far, well, today, we might still be speaking with a British accent.

And one last thought, “What should “We The People” be doing today if we feel we are not being heard?

And are mere protests enough? You tell me.

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