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American Heroes
by Michael Jenkins
04/05/11
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My dad and I recently traveled to Philadelphia to watch the NCAA wrestling tournament. In addition to watching some great wrestling, we had the opportunity to visit Independence Hall. I had goosebumps as I stood in the very room where the Declaration of Independence and Constitution were signed. As I surveyed the room, I tried to picture what it must have been like in the summer of 1775 as some of the most courageous men in our nation's history met and discussed a strategy to gain independence from the British.

The actual room is relatively small and simple. The floors are hardwood and the walls are white. But the work that was done inside the room was anything but small and simple. Men like George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, Benjamin Franklin, and James Madison were among those who participated in the Constitutional Convention during that hot summer of 1787. They prayed, debated, presented, argued, paced, and sweated (windows were closed to ensure privacy) in this now famous room. They poured themselves into the work of developing a framework for our country's government. They were passionate, hard working, committed, strong, intelligent, and humble men. They would never know the full impact of their lives until they got to heaven.

The same could be said about the man standing beside me as we toured this historic site. I looked over at my dad and saw a look of delight on his face. He was standing in the room that he had spent 35 years teaching high school students about as an American history teacher. I wondered how many lectures he had given that were centered around the events that took place here. How many countless hours had he spent telling stories of Franklin, Washington, and Hamilton? More importantly, how many lives had he impacted as they passed through room 208 at St. Francis Community High School?

The founding fathers were impressive men. What they stood for and what they accomplished are a couple of factors that landed them on my list of personal heroes; albeit, they're below another personal hero of mine-my own father.


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