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Remember Richard Somers. Why America Won Barbary Wars 1804, Lost Afghanistan 2021

September 04, 2021
9:00 am - 10:00 am
801 Shore Road, Somers Point
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As soon as American independence was recognized in 1783, our ships were attack by the same enemy who attacked us on September 11, 2001.  For the next 18 years, Americans tried to persuade them to stop with reason, negotiations and bribes.  America could not fight them because we had no army or navy.  Americans wanted peace — and low taxes.  However when Americans were also attacked by French pirates in 1798, we had enough.  We said “Millions for defense, not one cent for tribute”.  Instead of paying 10% of federal budget for bribes, ransom, and tribute, we built warships for a new navy.  Richard Somers from Somers Point, then 20 years old, was one of the first to join.  Finally, in 1801, President Thomas Jefferson sent our warships to fight the Barbary “Pirates”. (Legally, they were not pirates, because they waging jihad, or holy war against us. They were therefore “corsairs” or “privateers”, not criminals).  For two years, our sailors fought hard and well, but were ineffective because their commander was inept.  All that changed in 1803.  Edward Preble was put in command of the fleet.  Richard Somers was put in command of the warship Nautilus at age 25.  His classmates Steven Decatur and Charles Stewart were also put in command of their own warships.  In 18 months, these young Americans changed everything.  They won battle after battle.  They improvised.  Richard Somers purchased and prepared 8 Italian ships for combat.  He also trained and equipped more than a hundred Italian sailors in naval combat.  They also recruited reliable allies in the area.  By 1805, Barbary kingdoms agreed to leave American ships alone, without the payment of any bribes, tribute or ransom.  America “in its infancy” was admired and respected throughout the world.  Sadly, Richard Somers and all 12 members of his crew of his ship “Intrepid” were killed at Tripoli, North Africa, on September 4, 1804.  Every September 4, we hold a ceremony to remember at the park in Somers Point, NJ.  That park contains a his statue, and a mural with a series of paintings that tell his story.  The 9am ceremony at the park is free and open to the public.  Following the ceremony, there will be a $25 per person fundraising brunch to defray expenses.   Please donate $25 online or pay at the door.  Thanks!  Seth Grossman.  sethgrossman49@gmail.com.  (609) 927-7333

Richard Somers Park, Statue & Mural, 801 Shore Road
Somers Point, NJ 08244

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