”Our army manned the air, it rammed the ramparts, it took over the airports, it did everything it had to do, and at Fort McHenry, under the rocket’s red glare, it had nothing but victory. And when dawn came, their star-spangled banner waved defiant.”
Donald J Trump, President of the United States, July 4, 2019
There is something concerning about this quote. It is either a really bad write up, or a very bad rendition of the speech, likely both. It also reveals a president that likely did not read the speech before, and if he did, lacks knowledge of history.
He also referred to the Wright brothers later in the piece, yet he did not notice the errors. First off, we did not have an air corp in 1776. We did not have one until World War I when our flyboys took over the air in the European theater starting in 1917.
Then there is the disjointed confusion of the 1812 war, and the origin of the national anthem, and the revolutionarily war that ended in 1783 with the Treaty of Paris. None of us expects the president to be an expert in American history, but these are basic grade school facts that young children are taught in school, many times by rote.
It has, of course, generated a few funny memes on social media. There is nothing like General George Washington manning a jet fighter on the way to the battle of Trenton. Or for that matter, the crossing of Delaware on the way to La Guardia would be better with an Air Force base, but still funny.
It is also giving way to the hyper-partisan among us to make fun of the ignorance of the president of the United States. Granted, he has never been the sharpest tool in the shed when it comes to History, but that is what his speech writers and fact checkers are for. For that matter, Wikipedia can prove useful for the most basic of facts.
This is concerning because at least in my mind it raises more questions about his mental health and attitudes. For all, we know he read this before delivery. Perhaps he even practiced it before delivery. Both would be normal. However, there is also a very good chance that the first time he saw the speech was as he was reading it, and mistakes can be made. However, no speechwriter is that careless with facts.
We know the president is hardly well read, or knowledgeable of American history. This quote may be a reflection of what he believes in. We have the most powerful military in modern history, and this may extend, in his mind, to the revolutionary war. Having an air force, even a primitive one, would have given the American revolutionaries an incredible advantage. Oh never mind the knowledge to produce airplanes, or the technology did not exist in 1776. We barely had muskets, single shot weapons that took a trained rifleman over a minute to load. It did not matter if they were the Kentucky Long riffles or the more modern British muskets. They were also quite inaccurate and short ranged. Why open combat became a hand to hand affair quite fast, and why the Americans used guerrilla tactics in many cases.
So this line about taking non-existent airports is an extremely good premise for a sci-fi novel, alternate timeline. I know I have dabbled in such, and realize that one side having relatively modern weaponry would have changed the course of world history. But it also raises questions about the president’s knowledge base, or lack off. And also about his mental health and the insular nature of the administration.
Does his staff fear him so much that they wrote in an impossible line? Or did he misread this to the point of meme hilarity? While social media has had a lot of fun, the concern is appropriate. And what was the excuse? Well, instead of owning it, this was the weather of course.
When you’re standing in front of millions and millions of people on television, and I don’t know what the final count was, but that went all the way back to the Washington Monument. And I guess the rain knocked out the teleprompter, but I knew the speech very well, so I was able to do it without a teleprompter.”
if he knew it so well, why mention the technology that simply did not exist outside the imagination of a few people? As to his claims to the size of the audience…like the inaugural, it defies the photographic evidence.