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Caller: My Ancestor, One of the Americans Who Risked Everything


RUSH: Bill in Pensacola, Florida, welcome, sir. It's your turn, and it's great to have you with us.  Hi.

CALLER:  Good afternoon, Rush. Thank you very much for taking my call.  I've gotta keep my nerves and my emotion in check here.  It has to be serendipity or fate that I was able to get through because I called on the third and got through then but there was not enough time. I was calling because I wanted to thank you and also, of course, your father for the speech, The Americans Who Risked Everything. 

When I heard about that on the third, I went and immediately found it, printed it, and read it. It just touched me in a way that... It's amazing.  My grandfather... Well, my great-great-great-great-great-great-grandfather, so it's with six "greats." He actually is John Hart, was one of the 56 men who signed the Declaration.  In your father's speech, he actually summarized his life after the signing.  So I took the speech home. I've got three skulls full of mush at home ranging from 14 to 18, and the morning of the fourth -- Independence Day -- we sat them down, and the first thing that I said was I asked them if they knew what happened after the men signed the Declaration. Surprisingly my youngest, my son, said, "Yeah, they were hunted down."  So I was very happy and very surprised that they knew that, but then we went on to --

RUSH:  Did they know, at this point, that they were related distantly to John Hart?

CALLER:  Yes, sir.

RUSH:  Okay.

CALLER:  My mother, about 15 years ago, was on a huge, big genealogy trip.  She's a member of Ancestry.com and everything, and during that time she let me know that John Hart was my relative. But she also said, "Somewhere in the family tree is Mark Twain," and she said, "But that deep into the family tree everybody's related to Mark Twain."  So I guess I took it with a grain of salt regarding John Hart. But just within the last two or three years it's really struck me that, holy smokes, he was a direct grandfather to me. 

So we've told the kids. In the last couple years we've shared that with them so they know it.  I've got an application completed, just not submitted, for the Sons of the American Revolution. So they actually went and did the genealogy trace for me.  My first grandfather was a son of the American Revolution, so I've got my application filled out, just not submitted yet.  So my kids have known that, but you just don't hear about it. You don't think -- I guess this is the big thing -- on an everyday level what these men put on the line back then. It's easy to kind of think about it in passing, but when you're reading the speech that your father wrote, it puts it all in focus so clearly.

RUSH:  It's almost impossible to relate to it today.

CALLER:  It is.

RUSH:  You can appreciate it and you can be dazzled and wowed and all, but actually relating to it? It's like when I was growing up, my father kept telling me about the Great Depression, how horrible it was and what I had to do in case one happened again.  I couldn't relate to it. Nothing like that had ever happened to me.  So I didn't take it nearly as seriously as he wanted me to, but it was the formative experience of his life, that and World War II. 

So he never stopped talking about how horrible it was, "And if it happens again..." This is why he wanted me to go to college. If you didn't have a degree when that all was happening, you were toast.  So it's the same thing here.  I mean, you have a direct relation who was one of the signers of the Declaration, and just doing something like that -- demanding independence from a foreign government -- nobody can relate to that today. 

And then being pursued and families being taken, held prisoner, and tortured in exchange for you renouncing your Declaration? People can't relate. I mean, they can read it, they can absorb it historically, but, man, being able to actually relate to it? We're so far from that, such a far cry away.  But what you're doing is really great. It's helping people to appreciate it.  If you can accomplish that with anybody, just a degree of appreciation of how this country came to be, it's great.

It really is a miracle.  I don't think people stop to think, even when you tell them that the history of humanity in the world is tyranny.  The vast majority of people who've walked this planet have been prisoners, of one sort or another, until this country came along, with moderate exceptions.  But people born to it years later can't possibly relate to it.  Still, I imagine that this has been talked about enough in your family now that your kids are impressed by it now.

CALLER:  I don't know. I'm not sure.  You know how teenagers are. Like I said, they're between 14 and 18.  My son, through my genealogy checkout -- of course all three of my kids are included on my application. So if he wants to get involved, then he can.

RUSH:  I tell you what's gonna happen: In 20 or 30 years they're gonna remember all this and they're gonna be talking to friends, and it's gonna be a point in their adult lives. It's going to be a source or a reason for tremendous pride.

CALLER:  I think so.  I've been taking my two older daughters. I had been taking them, before the election, to weekly Constitution meetings where I live locally. I was involving the kids for that reason, because they know of John Hart. So they are interested politically. They're smart kids.  But, yeah, so they kind of know now, but like I said, when my mom first told me 15 years ago or so, at that point it's just so distant --

RUSH:  I know.

CALLER:  -- until you look at the family line and then it's great-grandfather, great-great grandfather, great-great-great-grandfather, and it goes directly to him.

RUSH:  In Rio Linda, that's your next-door neighbor, you know? So it's tough to drill the appreciation into 'em.  But I'll tell you, I'm confident when they get older, especially your youngest one (if I remember your story), this is gonna be a source of great pride.  As people get older, this matters more and more and more to 'em.  It does.  I appreciate the call.  I really do, Bill.



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