With no apologies to John McCain or M.L. Weems: how we will have to rewrite the narrative of our national mythology. And we're just over 235!
When John was about six years old, he was made the wealthy master of a hatchet of which, like most little boys, he was extremely fond. He went about chopping everything that came his way.
One day, as he wandered about the garden amusing himself by hacking his mother's pea sticks, he found a beautiful, young English cherry tree, of which his father was most proud. He tried the edge of his hatchet on the trunk of the tree and barked it so that it died.
Some time after this, his father, the Admiral, discovered what had happened to his favorite tree. He came into the house in great anger, and demanded to know who the mischievous person was who had cut away the bark. Nobody could tell him anything about it in front of the others, so the Admiral began some secret investigations.
Fast forward to a few days later when Johnny, with his little hatchet, came into his father’s room.
"John,'' said his father, "do you know who has killed my beautiful little cherry tree yonder in the garden? I would not have sold it for a million dollars!''
This was a hard question to answer, and for a moment little Johnny was staggered by it, but quickly recovering himself he cried:
"I cannot tell a lie, father, you know I cannot tell a lie and always talk straight! I didn’t cut it with my little hatchet.”
The Admiral’s voice became more stern as he pursed his line of questioning: “Yes, John, I have a video tape of your little friend Sarah cutting away that bark, but having interviewed her, she claims that you told her to do it. Is that true?”
Johnny had to do some fast thinking on his feet and very quickly he decided to spread the blame. “Little Karl told us to do it. He said we had to.”
The anger died out of his father's face, and taking the boy tenderly in his arms, he said:
"My son, you should never be afraid to hide the truth and spread the blame as widely as you can. That lesson is worth more than a thousand trees! And those trees will be blossomed with silver and have leaves of the purest gold!''