"Listen my children and you shall hear of the midnight ride of Paul Revere." Have you ever hear that thrilling line? Do you even know who Paul Revere is? If you're under, say 30, I'm going to guess that the answer to both of these questions might be no. This is a very serious problem, but it's not your fault.
It's not your fault because no one bothered to teach you about this courageous man, and the great American poet who made him famous. The story of Paul Revere is part of our heritage. This and countless other stories unite us as a distinct people with a shared past.
On my radio program, we held a contest for students to memorize and recite Paul Revere's Ride -- the entire poem! I doubted we would get much at all, but we ended up getting fifty entries of kids who had actually memorized THE WHOLE THING and recited it with all kinds of creativity.
There was a four-year-old who memorized the entire poem, two girls who recited it on horseback, a boy reciting WHILE RIDING A BIKE, and a twelve-year-old who flew to Boston to recite it in the Old North Church itself! I’ll be interviewing some of them on my program at some point...
For more on Paul Revere's Ride, see chapter four of my book, IF YOU CAN KEEP IT!