This weekend and on Monday, Americans will be celebrating the birth of our nation with pomp, circumstance and a crapton of explosives.
We often forget how we got here and it's also a good time for reflection. Remember, if not for our nation's forefathers and the Declaration of Independence, we wouldn't even be here to launch rockets full of noxious chemicals into the atmosphere cause they look purdy (Well, maybe we would but we'd all be wearing monocles and not bearing arms while doing it...).
All you need to hear are the names and you're instantly taken back to that critical time in our nation's history. Jefferson. Washington. Adams. Franklin. Syracuse fans know those names as well as any Americans but we've also got our own versions to look back on and revere, Paul-style.
So to honor our nation, our Cuse Nation, let's take a moment to remember those who came before us to lead the way...and also just so happened to have a name that kinda sounds like a famous dude from 1776.
George Washington led the Continental Army to a surprising victory through sheer will and determination...not to mention a little razzle-dazzle from time to time. Instead of using flair and the element of surprise to maim Cossacks, Dwayne "The Pearl" Washington used his to wow Dome crowds in the 80's. George's crossing of the Delaware River is immortalized forever, just like Pearl's buzzer-beater against Boston College. And he may have killed some Cossacks along the way...no way to confirm.
IF you watched the HBO miniseries about John Adams, you'd know he was actually way more important to America's birth than just being a lame duck President. He was one of the driving forces behind the Revolution and the Declaration of Independence. Syracuse doesn't have any John Adams in it's athletic history, though incoming football recruit Micah Robinson comes to us from John Adams High School in Cleveland. If he works half as hard as the man his school is named for, he should turn into quite the player.
Thomas Jefferson, besides becoming one of our greatest Presidents, is the father of the Declaration of Independence. He was renowned for his written word, his eloquence, his passion for the rights of individuals and his many different interests. The same might be said of another Thomas...Etan Thomas. In the downward arc of a 10-year career in the NBA, Thomas will be remembered as much for what he does outside of the basketball court as for what he does on it. Thomas is a poet, an outspoken civil rights activist, an anti-war protester and a philanthropist. Like Jefferson, Etan's contributions to the world are far greater than the one he's mostly known for.
Benjamin Franklin's impact on America and the world is so large, Syracuse couldn't possible encapsulate his qualities in one man. So there's two. Benjamin Tichnor was captain of the SU basketball team in 1910-1911. Tichnor once incited a brawl during a game against Colgate that was so fierce, so...electric, that Colgate considered never playing SU again afterward. Then there's Steve Franklin, the former OL for the Orange. Franklin was a gentleman and a scholar, earning academic honors while also captaining the squad. Like Ben, this Franklin was also well-traveled, spending time in Kansas City and Georgia along his pro career.
Robert Livingston was a member of the Committee of Five, the group that worked on the initial draft of the Declaration. There's no specific player with that name but there's Livingston Avenue in Syracuse. Many an SU Athlete has gotten themselves into trouble either at a house party or right outside of one on this street. There's also David Tyree, former SU receiver and Super Bowl hero, who grew up in Livingston, NJ.
Roger Sherman was also a member of the Committee of Five. Thomas Jefferson once said of him, "That is Mr. Sherman, of Connecticut, a man who never said a foolish thing in his life." That sounds a lot like Sherman Douglas, the Syracuse point guard whom many Orange fans would tell you never did a foolish thing in his life with a basketball. Until he went pro, that is.
Stephen Hopkins is a pretty under-appreciated member of the Continental Congress. An early, outspoken critic of British rule, Hop was the Governor of Rhode Island nine times, he freed slaves way before it was the cool thing to do, signed the Declaration of Independence proudly and is notable for being the in very back of the Declaration of Independence painting. He was the guy behind the guy getting things done...kinda like Mike Hopkins.
Robert Morris was known as the "Financier of the Revolution,"just like Joe Morris was the "Financier of Touchdowns For Syracuse Football" for many years. Also, the University that bears Rob's name is also a frequent win for Syracuse basketball. So...thanks, Bobby.
No, seriously. One of the guys who's name is on the Declaration of Independence is Lyman Hall. He is not related in any way to the Lyman Hall, which is an actual Hall, on SU's campus. That one's named after a dude named John Lyman. Cause if if were named after the Declaration one, it would be called Lyman Hall Hall. Duh.
Happy 4th of July, all!