Every generation of Americans has been faced with the same question: how should we live? Our endlessly interesting answers have created The American Story. The weekly episodes published here stretch from battlefields and patriot graves to back roads, school yards, bar stools, city halls, blues joints, summer afternoons, old neighborhoods, ball parks, and deserted beaches—everywhere you find Americans being and becoming American. They are true stories about what it is that makes America beautiful, what it is that makes America good and therefore worthy of love. Each episode aims in some small way to awaken the better angels of our nature, to welcome us into and encourage us to enrich the great American story.
Often our New Year’s resolutions are lighthearted, and usually, the flesh being weak, they are fleeting. Before Valentine’s Day or maybe even before Epiphany, we have slipped back into our old ways. But these lighthearted resolutions reflect a deeper, more serious impulse.
Tidings of Great Joy
At the time of the American founding, celebrations of Christmas in America varied widely, from Puritans and Quakers who shunned or ignored it, to other Protestants and Catholics who honored it in their own Christian ways, to those who spent the day in “riot and dissipation,” like an ancient Roman Saturnalia. But E Pluribus Unum—out of many one—was the American motto on the Great Seal, and over the generations, out of many ways of celebrating or ignoring Christmas, came a recognizably American way.
All of You on the Good Earth
President Kennedy told a special joint session of Congress that it was “time for a great new American Enterprise.”
Pearl Harbor and the Art of Politics
December 7, 2021 is the 80th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor that brought America into World War II. It is one of many days in the American year that inspire reflection on the most violent and determinative human event: war—and the art of war that aims to control and direct that most uncontrollable human undertaking.
After the American defeat in Vietnam in 1975, the communists confiscated the homes, businesses, property, and savings of those south Vietnamese supposed to be “counterrevolutionaries.” Hundreds of thousands of these men, women, and children were forced into what were called “reeducation” camps. Many risked their lives and fled, including Binh and Mai Ngo, who made it to America. Their son became an American hero.
Sarah Josepha Hale
Sarah Josepha Hale was born in New Hampshire in 1788. In an era when the average American life expectancy was forty years, she lived until 1879—91 years—and has been remembered by posterity primarily for two things: the poem popularly known as “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” and the American tradition of Thanksgiving. Hale made herself “one of the most influential women of the nineteenth century.”
Great show for a great history!
Awesome! Long live Charlie Brown!
Music too loud
Historic snippets are illuminating however difficult to hear soft low-timbre voice of Flannary competing with loud background music. TURN IT DOWN PLEASE.
What an incredible podcast. The stories, the history and historic figures, the lost and unknown facts, the music and Flannery’s perfect voice and delivery for this.. …. im so happy to have found these …. how wonderful to listen to these stories of our country’s past during such difficult current times.. i will do my part to help continue this wonderful historic podcast gem …. we all should. !!!