"The cold, gray light of the dawning
On old Carillon falls
And dim in the mist of the morning
Stand the grim old fortress walls." -Ticonderoga, V.B. Wilson
It's been almost ten years since I've been to Pacific City, along the brilliant Oregon Coast.
Save the cataract's mellow roar
Silent as death is the fortress
Silent the misty shore." -Ticonderoga, V. B. Wilson
Through the Siuslaw National Forest that winds around the trees following the river.
"But up from the wakening waters
Comes the cool, fresh morning breeze
Lifting the banner of Britain
And whispering to the trees." -Ticonderoga, V. B. Wilson
Across the little one car bridges and along this mountain pass...
"Of the swift gliding boats on the waters
That are nearing the fog-shrouded lands
With the old Green Mountain Lion
And his daring patriot band." -Ticonderoga, V. B. Wilson
That ends up so perfectly on Cape Kiwanda and another old Oregon Haystack Rock.
And quickly he glances around
Through the mist, forms like towering giants
Seem rising out of the ground." -Ticonderoga, V. B. Wilson
This morning we were reading about Ethan Allen and the Green Mountain Boys and how they whispered through the trees to sneak up on the Redcoats at Ticonderoga Fort on May 10, 1775 and sack a major victory for the young American nation.
"A challenge, the firelock flashes
A sword cleaves the quivering air
And the sentry lies dead by the postern
Blood staining his bright yellow hair." -Ticonderoga, V. B. Wilson
This band of frontiersmen and militia, without training, without any real organized soldiering skills...
"Then with a shout that awakens
All the echoes of hillside and glen
Through the low, frowning gate of the fortress
Sword in hand, rush the Green Mountain Men." -Ticonderoga, V.B. Wilson
How they ascended the hill and took that fort, relieved the British of their canons, and headed down toward the long and frozen march to Boston. Believe me, we were thinking about that as we headed for the massive Pacific City Dune.
With crimson and gold are ablaze
And up springs the sun in his splendor
And flings down his arrowy rays." -Ticonderoga, V.B. Wilson
Climbing to the top of this sand mountain has always been my tradition. Trudging up to the slippery summit, cursing yourself for even the attempt, sweating and grunting and fighting your way...
"Bathing in sunlight the fortress
Turning to gold the grim walls..." -Ticonderoga, V.B. Wilson
But it's like everything in life... once you arrive, all the hard work was worth it.
Rings the song of the waterfalls." -Ticonderoga, V.B. Wilson
Ethan Allen had Benedict Arnold with him that day. This is back before one became a furniture store and the other a name synonymous with betrayal. How quickly things can change. Do you think either of those men, as they stood above those fort walls and looked down on the forest whence they came, had any inkling of what their futures would become in American lore?
"Since the taking of Ticonderoga..."
No, the future is unwritten.
"A century has rolled away..."
For all of us.
"But with pride the nation remembers..."
So we stood there and reflected on how far we'd come. Just like all those Green Mountain Boys must have also done, kicking their feet over the sides of the fort walls and toasting themselves on British supplies. Every person has a reason for the battles they fight. Mostly it's about the faces that flood our past, barely traceable now in the bottomless pool of our memory.
"That glorious morning in May..."
But they are there. We know they exist and are remembered.
Forever the story tells
Of the capture of old Carillon
The chime of silver bells." -Ticonderoga, V.B. Wilson
We've come a long way, to be able to stand here together, and I'm very proud of that.