|NINETY MILES NORTH OF CANARSIE, ALONG THE BANKS OF THE HUDSON RIVER, MICHIE STADIUM IS THE HOME OF ARMY FOOTBALL.|
The Cadet's intrasquad game gets a sparse crowd. So without a vested rooting interest, once the festivities got started, DRJ7 and I were free to wander the stands. Later, we settled into the first row, at the right corner of the end zone, (above...off-camera, beyond the top of the 'A' in Army). While standing alone there, an attempt was made for a two-point conversion. Quarterback Kingsley Fink, (yeah, with a unique moniker like that, I still remember his name), overthrew a high, arcing fade route pass. The ball fell incomplete and took one neat hop into my hands. Catching a football in the stands was not only thrilling but was one of the happiest moments in my life. Spontaneously, I (poorly), broke into my own version of an Elmo Wright touchdown celebration dance. I finished my choreography by pointing up to the section where my teammates were seated and took a bow.
|BEFORE BILLY "WHITE SHOES" JOHNSON, ICKEY WOODS AND TERRELL OWENS, ELMO WRIGHT (#17) OF THE KANSAS CITY CHIEFS WAS CREDITED AS THE FIRST NFLer TO PERFORM AN END ZONE CELEBRATION DANCE. TOO BAD, I COULDN'T FIND A MORE DESCRIPTIVE PHOTO.|
Imagine you are in business and the item you sell has the generic name for all products like it. This situation is pure genius and incredibly rare. Two examples would be to call all refrigerators a "frigidaire" and all cellophane adhesive strips, "scotch tape." In the same vain, that's how most Americans associate traitors... they are all Benedict Arnolds. While Arnold's treasonous actions are common knowledge few of us know exactly what he did, (tried to do).
|SEDITIOUS BENEDICT ARNOLD WAS BORN IN NORWICH CONNECTICUT IN 1741. HE DIED IN LONDON ENGLAND IN 1801.|
A friend and cohort of George Washington, Benedict Arnold was a celebrated American general during the early stages of the Revolutionary War. His unquestioned valor and intelligence distinguished him at such battles as, Fort Ticonderoga, Valcour Island, Ridgefield, Fort Stanwix and Saratoga.
Somewhere along the line, Arnold's disillusionment with the colonist cause surfaced when he was passed over for valued promotions, as lesser officers claimed credit for some of his accomplishments. His patriotism further evaporated when adversaries brought him up on charges of corruption and malfeasance. Congress investigated his finances and found him to be broke and in debt to them. Evidence provided in Arnold's behalf proved that he used his own money on the colonial war effort and far worse, he wasn't paid for seven years. He was acquitted of all charges and was commissioned to command the American fort at West Point.
|BEAR MOUNTAIN STATE PARK IS ALSO LOCATED IN BEAUTIFUL ORANGE COUNTY. OCTOBER 1984, A DAY OF APPLE PICKING AND PICNICKING, MARKED THE LAST TIME I WAS NEAR WEST POINT.|
West Point was strategically placed at an abnormal S-curve on the Hudson River. The Continental Army knew that the river was a key route that connected New York City with New England. So, in addition to the bend slowing down river traffic and making foes an easier target, a heavy iron chain was placed across the waterway. This barricade was designed to impede British Naval vessels from attacking, (it was so formidable that it was never tested).
By 1780, Benedict Arnold was frustrated and bitter. He hatched an idea to sell-out the Americans and defect to the other side. In hope of a lump sum, ($1.3 million in today's money), and a commission as an English Brigadier General, Arnold entered secret negotiations. When the particulars of the bribe were consummated, his plan included, having an English invasion, at a time when the river chain was disconnected, while George Washington and other high ranking Americans were at West Point. If they succeeded, the war would immediately end because the American brain trust would be crippled and the Brits would control the Hudson.
This was a time when New York City was in the hands of the British. Luckily for the Americans, a spy ring called the Culpers used regular citizens, (oh those wacky New Yorkers), to smuggle-out English military secrets. This information was sent by horseback, fifty-plus miles, to the north shore of Long Island. Then by whaling boat, (ten rowers), across fifteen miles of Long Island Sound (sometimes during bad weather, in waters infested with the enemy), to Connecticut.
Interestingly, George Washington the guy famous for never telling a lie was well-versed in stretching the truth, he was the Culpers spy master. In one of their few cypher books that survive today, he was represented as the leader and in a numeric code, as the number 711. The father of our country might also be the first to write secret messages in invisible or white ink, between the lines of banal correspondences. Thus prompting the term, "reading between the lines."
The go-between, between Benedict Arnold and the British was, Major John Andre. Before the dastardly deed could be set in motion, Andre was captured by American militia men. He was turned over to the Culpers and in his boot, they discovered the specifics of Arnold's plot. It is said that the only time George Washington was ever seen crying was when he heard of Benedict Arnold's scheme. Once the treacherous plan was foiled, John Andre was hanged, but Arnold managed to escape to the British.
Arnold used his knowledge against the Americans and actively served as an English Brigadier General, (most notably in campaigns in Virginia and Connecticut), for the duration of the war. Even though he never received everything promised, (the raid on West Point never happened), he was still paid, $350,000.00 in today's money. After the war, Arnold settled in England and lived the rest of his days comfortably.
So, 236 years later, we owe George Washington even more gratitude than we ever imagined or as the Culpers used to say, "Oh thank heaven, for 711." And, could it be that the boy who admitted cutting down the cherry tree, was the originator of that universal lucky number?