Monday, March 21, 2005

Liberty Day 2005

Patriots of all ages gathered at the American Legion Hall in Capron, Illinois on the evening of Saturday, March 19, 2005 for the 7th Annual Liberty Day Festivities! Sadly, the Erbers were preoccupied and didn't get many pictures! We're seeing what we can get from other folks, (if you have some, send 'em over!) in the mean time, you can at least read about the event! We'll add pictures as we get them!

After some pre-program music (Miss Heather Englund), some opening statements (Jeremy was MC), and singing (everyone), Joshua kicked off the evening with a speech on "The Mantle of Liberty." He exhorted us to study the lives of our heroes not just so that we can admire them all the more, but so that we can emulate them - for they have given to us a mantle of Liberty which we will pass on to the next generation. Will it be better or worse for having been in our hands?

Mrs. Diana Ortega then took the stage and eloquently recounted the story of the enscribing of Francis Scott Key's masterpiece, The Star Spangled Banner. She also read the words to all four verses of the poem and reminded us of the richness that is lost when we only sing the first verse and neglect to remember the other three.

Our across-the-street-neighbor, Miss Jessica Bernhardt, then came forward and beautifully sang our National Anthem for us, accompanied by her brother, Jacob.

Next came a performance that I have a feeling is becoming an annual tradition - a harp/violin duet. Despite being young musicians, Joanna & Raeanne Carlson sound great together and have a lot of fun doing it. Up on stage they were both so composed, you'd think that they weren't the least bit nervous! This year they played "This Land is our Land."

Next I took the stage for a few brief moments to croak out an introduction to the 2nd Virginia convention. I "croaked" it out because a cold had the audacity to stop by univited on Friday and steal my voice away! Some have been kind enough to say that my voice was simply "dramatically low." Dramatic or not, it's a good thing I didn't have much to say!

Of course, next came the centerpiece of the evening: The arrival of the delegates and the reenacting of the 2nd Virginia Convention. The interaction of these guys gets better every year! We added a couple of new parts (Wm. Riddick and Andrew Lewis) and they stepped right in and helped round things out perfectly! They guys looked great, too, as they sported professionally made wigs and full costumes. As usual, Mr. Henry's eloquence won supporters and his resolutions carried by a sizeable majority...

Patrick Henry paces as he the intensity builds shortly before uttering the famous closing lines.

Up next was a guitar duet of God of our Fathers, performed in classical style by two young men from our church, Jeremy Degenhart and Jonathan Fowlks.

Following their performance came the premier performance of "Ticonderoga!" We took the story of Ethan Allen's taking of Fort Ticonderoga and adapted it for radio. We had a lot of fun with sound effects and organ music, and the cast we had was incredible! It was such fun to work with everyone. The character's voices were supplied by a bunch of young people in our church - and one dad in there, too. Ethan Allen's lieutenant was our youngest character (8-year-old Josiah) and the part of Benedict Arnold was carried by 18-year-old Aaron Englund. Everyone else fell between those ages. Joanna was Mrs. Allen, Joseph was the British commander (Captain Delaplace), Jonathan was Ethan Allen and a handful of others carried the rest of the characters. Mr. Yen and his daughter, Kathryn, were absolutely excellent as "Dad" and "Daughter" who had the opening and closing dialog to the story.

Col. Seth Warner (Jeremy Degenhart) and Col. Ethan Allen (Jonathan).

But moving on - maybe I should issue a warning - light entertainment ahead!
Jeremy, Joshua, Jonathan, Joseph, Josiah & Nathan took the stage next as the Erberantey Men's Ensemble performed a light-hearted, knee-slappin', foot-stompin', hand-clappin', backwoodsy rendition of an old favorite, The Battle of New Orleans: "In 1814 I took a little trip along with Col. Jackson down the mighty Mississip'..."

More music followed the boys - although it was more dignified in nature! Miss Becky Knottnerus came forward to sing "God Bless the USA."

Poetry followed as Miss Kathryn Inyart took the stage and reminded us of the many influential men and women who never made the history books. The fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers, friends and countrymen of our heroes. The men and women "in the ranks" who gave their daily lives in faithful and upright service to the Lord and their country. She then quoted "Men of Honor" and "Women of Grace" two poems written by Miss Heather Englund.

Jonathan then reminded us of the sacrifice and heartache that so many suffered in fighting for the cause of Liberty by dramatically recounting the legend of the "Blacksmith of Brandywine." The four senior members of the Erberantey then sang the song with the same title.

As the evening was drawing to a close, Dad took the stage to remind us that if we want to see a restoration of truth and liberty in our day, than the responsibility lies upon our shoulders. We must humble ourselves and seek the Lord. We must honor the Lord with our lives, serve Him, follow His precepts - and then He will be the one Who heals our land. Ultimately, our work is in vain if He is not at work.

Jeremy then shared some closing remarks and ended with this quote by Robert Lee:
"The truth is this: The march of Providence is so slow and our desires so impatient; the work of prgress is so immense and our means of aiding is so feeble; the life of humanity is long; that of the individual so brief, that we often see only the eb of the advancing wave and are thus discouraged. It is history that teaches us to hope."

Jacob Bernhardt then returned to the piano and performed an inspiring rendition of "Onward Christian Soldiers." It was a brilliant arrangement enjoyed by all who heard it - though Joseph & I were distracted by trying to figure out how to get the piano leg to stop squeeking! :-)

We then closed the program with the singing of three verses of Once to Every Man and Nation.

For the next few hours, the 200 attendees enjoyed refreshments, a bit of dancing (Virginia Reel), and a formal discussion concerning current events, covering some of the if, what, why, where, when, and how we should take a stand for truth and righteousness today.

And I think that just about covers the evening's events! We had a great time and there was lots of talking and laughter in those hours following the program. Those of you who were there - if I missed something, just comment below!

Jessica Erber


Anonymous said...

O, how I wish I could have been there! It looks like ya'll had alots of fun over in Harvard area. Can't wait to see more pictures!!!

Erber Correspondent said...

We wish you could have been here, too! And we will try to get more pictures up here soon - but I'm still waiting for more to arrive!


2saints said...

Don't have my pictures back...haven't even taken them in yet...but I'll send them on as soon as I do, provided they are decent. You never can tell with these old-fashioned cameras. :o)

Ticonderoga was just as inspiring as the re-enactment. Mr. Arnold has a voice that was made for radio dramas! Well done!

Now about the Erberantey ensemble--my son remembers enough of it to drive us all nuts. ;o) Your rendition was tons of fun; it brought back childhood memories. LOL

You know something that is even more amazing to us than just witnessing the session is sitting next to one of the delegates. They do a fabulous job of it and you really understand that as eloquent as Mr. Henry was, it still wasn't such an easy choice for some--even though it is plainly obvious to all of us now. God clearly governs our affairs and I for one am very thankful.

Erber Correspondent said...

Your pictures are all over The Alliant, so I don't know how doubtful you can be as to at least some of the pictures being great! :)

On Ticonderoga - When we asked Aaron to take the part of Benedict Arnold I didn't have a clue how perfectly he'd carry it! He was great!

On the Erberanteys - Sorry! Hope you don't go too crazy! :)

On the Reenactment - Who did you sit next to? Sitting in the front row, I sat near John Tazewell, the clerk, and witnessed him come out of character long enough to pull out his digital camera and snap a few pictures!! LOL!

But, no, it was not an easy decision they made - nor were the consequences of that decision easy to bear.

One example is that of Mr. Thomas Nelson, Jr. (the "Merchant of Yorktown" - played by Nathan - who cried "I am a Virginian first! Let my trade perish!"). Nelson was governor of Yorktown by the time the war came to that place. He had spent years of labor building his estate and now - despite the ravages of war - was the wealthiest man in town.

When the Brits took over Yorktown all the good patriots fled - especially high profile ones, like Nelson. During the colonial siege of Yorktown, Gov. Nelson went to Gen. Washington and pointed out a large house in town. He said, "See that home. It is the nicest home in Yorktown. That is where the British will have quartered their officers. That is where their headquarters is." He then gave the command that began the assault on his own home. By the end of the siege, his home and all the possessions it held had been reduced to nothing but a few charred ruins.

If you visit Yorktown today, you can visit the place where the house stood. Aside from a small plaque, the lot is still empty. Truly they believed in their cause and were willing to give all!

Okay, I've rambled enough! :)

2saints said...

We sat next to PH himself!! :o) Last year we sat next to Mr. I who opposed the resolution.

Wish I'd gotten a picture of Mr. Tazewell! :o)

Now I'll tell you a secret: I've only taken one of the pictures used in the Alliant. I just pass them along. From our family, Joanna has been published most. Unfortunately, I was the one taking most of the pictures on Liberty Day. Joanna did take one or two at the very end, so there is hope. :o)

Erber Correspondent said...

Aha! Mr. Henry, eh? He didn't give you too much trouble, did he?

So, Joanna is the photographer in your family! She's done a great job, but I'm sure your pictures will still turn out fine. :)