Presidents Day 2013
Posted on: 6th February 2013 20:56:42

Welcome to the February 2013 Edition, President’s Day!



As we set foot on the Road to Reminiscence our first official stop is 1776 Philadelphia. Here, we find great historical figures (by now old friends), John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin.


In keeping with this year’s theme of adaptability for other populations 1776 is perfect for students!  

Every student takes a history class and learns of the signing of the Declaration. What better way than through multi-media?   The characters are no longer lifeless descriptions in a book but rather living, breathing, singing, human beings -- human beings who demonstrate joy, angst, frustration and ultimately solidarity in their pursuit of the perfect union.


What great characters these men are:


  • John Adams, who simply because he demonstrates a fervent, often zealous love of country finds he is “obnoxious and disliked”. Disliked to the point of not being able to get anything done:   “I have come to the conclusion that one useless man is called a disgrace, that two are called a law firm and three or more are called a Congress”   (sound familiar? Are we sure we’re talking about congress in 1776)?  Disliked or not he will make his voice heard: “I say vote yes, vote yes, vote for independency!”    Spend some time talking with your students about what it’s like to be the “odd man out” in a large group and the price to be paid for standing up for what you believe. 


  • Thomas Jefferson: A man guided by his passion.  In this film he appears to be guided more by his passion for his wife than for his love of country.  He tells Adams, ”I’m going home… I haven’t seen my wife these six months”.  (When his wife arrives he quickly dispenses with writing to indulge in more pleasurable pursuits). However, as our story progresses, the document completed, we witness a man whose passion for country is equal to that of Adams, particularly when the topic of salary is discussed:


Jefferson: (re: Slavery) …“We must abolish it”

Adams: “…that little paper there deals with freedom for Americans”.

South Carolina (Mr. Rutledge): “Mr. Adams is now calling our black slaves Americans...!” 

Adams: “Yes, they are. They are people and they are here!”

South Carolina:  (Mr. Rutledge):“They are not people, they are property…”

Jefferson: “No sir! They are people…being treated as property…. The rights of human nature are deeply wounded by this infamous practice…!”.


Spend some time here discussing slavery, the impact on our country and history as a whole and its impact on other conflicts involving oppressed people.  Great insights may come forth.



  • Ben Franklin: A man with a vision for the future, an eye for posterity yet keenly aware that a free future cannot be granted without compromise:  “You talk as if independence were the rule it’s never been tried before, no colony has ever broken from the parent stem in the history of the world”.  .  “…Consider what you’re doing…we are men, no more no less trying to get a nation started against greater odds than a more generous God would allow…Independence first…America -- if we don’t secure that what difference will the rest make?”   Ben Franklin suggested compromise for the greater good. Compromise may be a vehicle for you to link 1776 politic with the politics of today. Without the nation, we could not have pursued the fight for equality during the civil war and we would not be able to continue the fight for the rights of: women and the differently- abled.


As you study these historical figures with your students don’t forget this film has a healthy dose of reminiscence, perfect for the older generation including Grandma.


Looking at this film from that point of view, spend time discussing the loneliness Adams, feels when separated from wife Abigail. Discuss your client’s experiences with the same. Did the women have to go to work to support their children during their husband’s absence in the military?  What is it like to be a military spouse?  Great stories of strength and courage are sure to emerge.


Isn’t that the corner stone of the fight for Independence? Strength, courage and the support of family!


I hope you, your students and your families enjoy the musical history lesson that is 1776!


See you in March as the Road to Reminiscence continues with a stop in Brigadoon with Gene Kelly and Cyd Charisse!










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