????????????????? This?community-wide event?opened with Retired Admiral Ron Denney of Ocean City raising the flag, Somers Point Councilman Sean McGuigan leading the pledge of allegiance, and Deborah Jenkins of the Gateway Theater singing the National Anthem.?? Somers Point Poet Laureate Maria Provenzano read a poem?she composed to remember the spirit of Richard Somers. ??????????????
??????????????? Artist Maryann Cannon described the mural she had painted.??Donations from roughly 55 mostly local businesses and private donors paid for the project. ???????????????
?????????????? Donna Mohr (Somers Point Arts Commission and Historic Preservation Commission), Chipp Reid (Author–Intrepid Sailors), Seth Grossman (Liberty and Prosperity), and Sally Hastings (Somers Point Historical Society) told parts of the story of Richard Somers as depicted on the mural.?? Seth Grossman’s remarks are posted on YouTube at http://youtu.be/kkdN8OL-tdY? ???????????????
?????????????? Greg Gregory (Gregory’s Restaurant and Bar) introduced all participants and also?read a proclamation from the town manager of Somers (pronounced “Soh-mers”) New York which was named after Richard Somers shortly after his death some 200 years ago.?? ???????????????
?????????????? Somers Point Mayor Jack Glasser closed the ceremony by sharing his thoughts on the legacy of Richard Somers. ?????????
????????????? Following the ceremony, some 45 people attended our fundraising buffet at nearby SandiPointe Restaurant in Somers Point.? They included Atlantic County Surrogate Jim Curcio, Freeholder John Risley, and Stand-up “Politically Incorrect” comic Eric Golub.?
?????????????? The event was initially scheduled for Gregory’s, but smoke damage from last week’s fire there forced us to switch to SandiPointe.?? SandiPointe owners Dan and Sandi Anderson did an outstanding job in preparing the buffet on short notice.?? Thanks to Mark Hutchinson and Farland MacFarlan foro sharing their photes of the events with us.
BELOW IS A SHORT VERSION OF THE RICHARD SOMERS STORY. ????????????
Until the 1920?s, almost every American child knew about Richard Somers and America?s 1801-1804 War against Islamic terror from elementary school or popular books and plays.?? Streets and towns throughout America, like Somers, New York, were named after him.? The Tripoli Memorial, the first war monument built at U.S. Navy Academy in Annapolis was dedicated to Richard Somers and the 12 others who died with him on The Intrepid on September 4, 1804. Today, Richard Somers is all but forgotten?even by family members here in his home town of Somers Point.?? His remarkable story is no longer taught in our schools, or featured in Hollywood movies or TV. George Orwell?s novel ?1984?,? described the dictatorship of ?Big Brother? and its ?Ministry of Truth?.?? Its motto was ?Who controls the past, controls the future.?? Who controls the present, controls the past?.??? Its employees systematically searched old newspapers, textbooks, movies, photos and other historic records to remove and destroy all evidence that people with ideas no longer acceptable to ?Big Brother? ever existed. The story of Richard Somers is filled with facts that contradict the ?politically correct? history taught by the ?progressive?/left today.? That is why his story is being systematically removed from our history and memory. The ?progressive?/left tells us that expensive public schools, colleges, and government training programs after college are needed to properly prepare young people.?? But there were no government run schools in America in 1788 when George Washington was President and Richard Somers went to school.??? Every family voluntarily paid to educate their own children and those whose families could not afford to pay.?? Richard Somers finished school at age 16 like most American boys and girls then.?? Back then, most Americans with eight grades of education had better knowledge and skills in reading, writing, math, science, history, and literature than most college graduates today. Schools closed for the summer back then so every child could work? in the farm or business of his or her family.? Starting at age 10, Richard Somers sailed small boats on the Egg Harbor River? to deliver farm product and fish between Mays Landing and Somers Point.?? By age 17 Somers was in command of large sailing ships carrying cargo over open ocean between New York and Philadelphia. The ?progressive? left teaches that early Americans got rich by enslaving blacks and stealing land from Indians.??? But South Jersey was settled by pacifist Quakers who never owned slaves and never fought or took land from Indians.? (If they did, some sharp lawyer would have found a way to open an Indian casino in New Jersey by now!)? The story of Richard Somers and his family is filled with examples of Americans thriving in ?a land of boundless opportunity?.??? (Translation of popular German description of America as “Das Land der unbegrentzten Moeglichkeiten” first used by German mercenary soldiers captured by Americans in 1776.)? There was no need for bribes, favors or permits to start a business.? Family members cleared land for productive farms and lumber, dammed rivers to power mills and harvest ice, built sturdy seagoing boats and ships for fishing and trade, and open shops and taverns.??? Taxes were so low that it was for common for young men with nothing at age 18 to be? prosperous farm, ship, or business owners by their thirties.?? The tragic deaths of women in childbirth? created a shortage of marriageable women, which empowered them in seeking husbands. At age 20, Richard Somers was already well on his way to buying his own ship or farm. The ?progressive? left blames America for all the wars and violence in the world.?? But the Richard Somers story explains how America was a peaceful nation that relied on negotiations and bribes to protect its people, and went 15 years without building a navy. But events overseas forced America to build its first navy in 1798.? And this changed the life of Richard Somers. For more than a thousand years, Muslim sea-fighters based in North Africa attacked ships and coastal villages of Europe as far away as Iceland.?? During that time, they captured more than a million European Christians and held them for ransom or sold them as slaves.? When America was part of the British Empire, our ships were protected by the navy?and protection money (tribute) of the British Empire. But when America gained independence from Britain in 1783, Muslim sea-fighters based in North Africa attacked our ships and captured the crews.? For the next 15 years, the U.S. government spent ten percent of its budget to the Muslim kingdoms of North Africa as ransom and tribute to protect Americans.?? America and no navy, and nothing but diplomats and negotiations to protect our people overseas. During those 15 years, Americans discovered that paying protection money only encouraged more people to go into the pirate business.?? In 1798, French government officials also demanded bribes when French pirates attacked American ships.?? Americans had enough.?? They shouted ?Millions for defense, not one cent for tribute!? and demanded an American navy. Richard Somers, then 20 years old, was one of the first to join.? There were no buildings at the new Naval Academy, and he was trained as a ?midshipman? on a warship fighting French pirates in 1799.??? In 1801, President Thomas Jefferson and Congress sent the new fleet to the coast of North Africa to protect Americans from Muslim sea-fighters there.? Richard Somers was put in command of his own warship at age 23.?? At age 25 he commanded a squadron of ships as ?master commandant?. At that time, most U.S Navy ship captains were also in their early 20?s.? The Europeans? at first ridiculed? America for sending a ?pack of schoolboys?? against the most fanatic, skillful, and best equipped sea-fighters in the world. That changed quickly when those young Americans destroyed the feared Muslim battle fleets in battle after battle.?? Pope Pius VII praised ?America in its infancy? for doing more to defend Christendom ?than all the great powers of Europe over centuries?. By the summer of 1804, all the Muslim kingdoms in North Africa made peace with America except Tripoli, now known as Libya.?? The ruler of Tripoli believed the American Congress would soon get tired of paying for an expensive war 5,000 miles away and bring the fleet back home before its work was done.???? Richard Somers and most U.S. Navy officers agreed.??? They therefore made a daring plan to quickly win the war.? They would pack explosives into a Muslim ship they had captured and renamed ?The Intrepid?.?? They would then sail it into the enemy ships anchored in Tripoli Harbor, and explode it.?? Richard Somers and 12 other volunteered for this mission.??? The explosive packed Intrepid sailed into Tripoli Harbor during the night of September 4, 1804. The mission failed.?? The Intrepid exploded and killed Richard Somers and all on board before it got close enough to damage the enemy ships.? However, their courage? and sacrifice were not in vain.? Congress and President Jefferson soon ordered the navy to negotiate a peace treaty with Tripoli, pay ransom money, and return home. However, the navy commanders were so moved by what Richard Somers and his crew had done that they refused to follow those orders.? They instead used the ransom money to hire Greek mercenaries to fight with U.S. marines ?on the shores of Tripoli?.? These attacks, along with the fanatic bravery and determination of Richard Somers convinced the ruler of Tripoli to make peace with America without getting tribute. This conclusion to the Richard Somers story contradicts the narrative of the ?progressive? left that America does not need a military, and that war can never be necessary or just.