I'm in the mood to tell a story I think everyone here will appreciate.
I'm a public historian specializing in American military history and also, more broadly, the Founding era. I used to be one of the living history rangers at Fort Stanwix National Monument in Rome, NY, where I learned to play the 18th century military drum.
In those days, they used musical instruments for communicating on the battlefield and in everyday garrison life. They had musical "calls" for everything: Reveille and Taps are still familiar to us, but in addition, there were calls for officers' meetings, military drills, drawing daily rations, and "fatigue duty" like gathering firewood, etc.
The one I want to tell you about is the Alarm call. It was used in times of immediate, critical danger to say to every soldier, "Stop what you're doing - grab your gear and fall in on the line! NOW! The enemy is upon us!"
The alarm itself was a single, uninterrupted, continuous drum roll, echoed by other drummers as they too responded to it. If you listen closely, you can still hear it today when you hear "The Star Spangled Banner" performed by a traditional symphony orchestra.
Just as the anthem tells of a long night during the siege of Baltimore during the War of 1812, its drum roll calls every American to stand alongside each other, shoulder to shoulder, when our Liberties are threatened.
The way I see it, every person here has heard and responded to the call: the Convention of States Project is the line between the Constitution and those who seek to subvert it. To see each of you here, standing shoulder to shoulder with me on my right and left, is truly a beautiful thing.
John Antkowiak is a District Captain in North Carolina, a public historian, and a former living history ranger at Fort Stanwix National Monument. The picture above was taken during his time as a ranger.
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