Happy birthday, America! And while I’m not a fan of fireworks and firecrackers popping off at this point in my life – my pup Emma was traumatized and trembling as the rabble rousers got off to an early start with their pyrotechnics early this morning! – I do get sentimental thinking about all the sacrifices our servicemen and -women have made to pave the way for our July 4 celebrations.
For the upcoming July issue in our sister publication, American Shooting Journal, I was assigned to write a profile review of a new Fox Nation series hosted by actor and producer Kelsey Grammer, whose memorable psychiatrist character Dr. Frasier Crane made him a sitcom star in both Cheers and Frasier. Kelsey Grammer’s Historic Battles For America debuted on Fox’s streaming service in the spring, so I binge-watched all eight season one episodes that covered pivotal battles in the first 100 or so years of our nation. They included three key Revolutionary War conflicts, Bunker Hill, Brooklyn and Yorktown, which also discussed the rise of Gen. George Washington, who would lead the ragtag Continental Army to independence over the British and then ascend to the new nation’s first commander in chief.
The series also featured the siege at the Alamo, which led to a new fight for Texas independence from Mexico, three tide-changing Civil War battles – First Bull Run, Antietam and Vicksburg – and Gen. George Custer’s downfall against the Native American tribes waging their own fight for freedom.
I’m really glad I was able to watch these moments that indeed shaped who we are today. Here’s a sneak preview of the story:
WHAT CAN WE learn about United States history through its wars? That extraordinary achievements can be done by ordinary men – at least ordinary until they become legendary.
In an episode about the Battle of Brooklyn (Long Island), which occurred just over a month after the Declaration of Independence was signed on July 4, 1776, Continental Army General George Washington’s troops were on the verge of a catastrophic defeat and literally backed into a corner.
“George Washington and 9,000 of his men find themselves surrounded in Brooklyn, New York, by the largest military force yet assembled in North America,” Grammer narrates in the episode. “With his back pinned against the East River, Washington must find a way to save his troops and keep the dream of America alive. The fate of the revolution and the future of a newly independent nation hangs in the balance. One wrong move and the entire army could be captured, Washington himself drawn and quartered, and the whole cause irrevocably doomed.”
Of course, we know that General Washington, future first president and the patriarch of the Founding Fathers, led the ragtag Continental Army past the famed British Redcoats (featured in the very next episode of the series, “Yorktown”). But the series delves into plenty of “what ifs” as it analyzes these events that could have changed the history books forever, such as how vulnerable Washington and his men were in present-day Brooklyn and adjacent New York City.
Check out our website, americanshootingjournal.com, for more information about how to get the magazine’s upcoming July issue. Have a safe Fourth of July (and godspeed to your dogs and other pets as the fireworks commence!).