A personal note from the Writer/Director: I grew up with absolutely no knowledge of my ancestral heritage at all. It was only a couple of years ago that I learned that the founder of one of our great American cities, Hartford, Connecticut was founded by my 10th Great-grandfather, Samuel Stone. I was shocked when I discovered this information and I thought it was really cool, but that’s about all the thought I gave to it at the time. Recently I decided I should do a little more research on my old 17th century Grandad to see if there was more to his story. What I learned about the facts of his life and many of my other ancient ancestors stunned me beyond belief. This wasn’t just the story of one my relatives who lived four hundred years ago, this was the story of a paradigm shift in the civilization of man that changed the course of history. This is the story of the original Kings and Queens of England and the disparity in the quality of life between those who were born into privilege, aristocracy, and Royalty and those who were not. This is the story of unimaginable cruelty and abuse born of unlimited power and a callus disregard for human life and dignity. This is the story of the life and death struggles and sacrifices made by the original pilgrims and founding fathers and mothers of our country to create a nation built of the principals of; Freedom, Equality, Liberty, and Justice for all. This is truly the story of the “Birth of the American Dream.” After discovering all this incredible, historical information, as a screenwriter and filmmaker, I knew I had to make a movie about it. While I am humbled, and incredibly proud of the historical significance and momentous contributions made by my ancestors to help create the “Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave,” my motivation to make this film is not ego driven, or even that my 10th Great-grandfather is Samuel Stone, or that my 13th Great-Grandfather is John “The Martyr” Rogers, or that I’m related to two of the original passengers on board the Mayflower, Thomas Rogers and his son Joseph, no, my motivation comes directly from my sense of American pride and to some degree, my duty to bring this story to the screen at a time when we really need it. It seems to me that with all the negative news out there these days, all the fighting, the violence, and all the vile hate speech that is being blasted out on a daily basis here in the UNITED States now, that this may be the perfect time for everyone who calls America their home to be reminded of the origins of how we became a free nation, the land of opportunity and prosperity, and of how and why the USA became the greatest country on earth. Maybe by looking back again to the very beginning of the birth of our nation created by the heroic acts of bravery on the part of ordinary people who risked and sacrificed their lives because they were deeply committed to idea that freedom was a God given right that should be enjoyed by all and not just the privileged few. Maybe by looking back we can find the best way to move forward, resolve our differences peacefully, and become a unified community of neighbors helping neighbors again where we are all proud to call ourselves Americans. Americans that will always and forever stand together against our foes instead of fight amongst ourselves. Somehow we’ve become a fractured nation comprised of a million different groups that all hate each other because they all put their selfish agendas first instead of doing what’s right for the country as a whole. It’s my opinion that a lot of Americans have forgotten how important it is to sometimes make personal sacrifices in the interest of the greater good. That is the only way to keep us a strong, proud, and a unified nation. American pride is waning and our citizens seem to be increasingly more and more willing to go to war against each other instead of finding a way to work together on our problems. One of the country’s most important founding fathers during Revolutionary times (before, during, and after the war) was a man named John Dickinson. Mr. Dickinson was a solicitor and politician from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Wilmington, Delaware known as the “Penman of the Revolution” for his twelve Letters from a Farmer in Pennsylvania, published individually in 1767 and 1768. As a member of the First Continental Congress, where he was a signee to the Continental Association, Dickinson drafted most of the 1774 Petition to the King, and then, as a member of the Second Continental Congress, wrote the 1775 Olive Branch Petition. When these two attempts to negotiate with King George III failed, Dickinson reworked Thomas Jefferson’s language and wrote the final draft of the 1775 Declaration of the Causes and Necessity of Taking Up Arms against Great Britain and the King, thus resulting in the start of the Revolutionary war. John Dickinson is responsible for the writing of many historical early American documents that helped shaped our nation and defined what being an American meant and what American stood for. In 1768, (seven years before the start of the war) when it was becoming clear that a war between the American Colonialists seeking Independence from the rule of the King was an inevitability, Dickinson wrote a song called “The Liberty Song,” which was meant to serve as a rallying cry for all citizens living in American that were willing to stand up and fight for their freedom and the tyranny of the King and his control over them forever. One of the verses in the song goes: “Then join hand in hand, brave Americans all, By uniting we stand, by dividing we fall.” No truer words were ever written when it comes to predicting the outcome of an impending conflict. If we continue down this path of breaking off into separate little groups that all fight and hate each other instead of being a unified nation of proud patriots that stand together along side our fellow Americans in good times and bad, banded together underneath the Stars and Stripes blanket of our glorious flag, then we are surely doomed to fall. Everyone thinks our personal differences, problems, and issues are so complex and far too difficult to tackle and solve. The news peddlers, pundits, bloggers, and many politicians actively create, exaggerate and exacerbate the difficult issues of the day to keep us fighting with each other. Why? Because it keeps them employed. The answer to solving our problems is so incredibly simple and yet, for some reason, seems to be so difficult for most people to make a part of their daily lives. The answer is this; just follow the Golden rule, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” That’s it. Just treat people with the love, kindness, caring, and level of respect that you would like to receive from them. If we all practiced the Golden Rule then all this terrible, crazy, bull—t that’s tearing our country apart would go away. The change starts with you. Wouldn’t it be beautiful if from this day forward we all started treating each other with genuine love and respect again and unabashedly, proudly, expressed how grateful and privileged we all feel to be citizens of the United States of America? Wouldn’t that be awesome?
When putting all this together it struck that it had been quite a number of years since I had read or recited the Pledge of Allegiance. In fact, I wasn’t even sure I could remember the exact phrasing of the pledge which angered me because I thought; how can I call myself a proud American and not even remember the exact wording of the Pledge of Allegiance? So I looked it up online to make sure I was getting it right, and I have to tell you, when I read those simple, beautiful, powerful words again, I got the chills. It was if I was reading and saying them again for the first time. I became deeply emotional and moved by such eloquent words that are so imbued with American history and pride. If the Founding Fathers and Mothers of this country were alive to witness the state of the nation as it stands today, and so were all the brave men and women who gave their lives defending our rights and freedoms over the last four centuries, I have no doubt that they would all be deeply saddened and heartbroken. If, like me, it’s been a while since you’ve read or recited the Pledge of Allegiance maybe it’s time you did so again and hopefully that profound sense of American pride will wash over you like it did me when I read them again and thought about the true meaning of the Pledge of Allegiance to America.