Don’t Give Up The Ship… the birth of this slogan is ignominious…. the history of the slogan is forever attached to a defeat.
During the War of 1812, he commanded USS Chesapeake in a single-ship actionagainst HMS Shannon commanded by Philip Broke. He is probably best known today for his last words or “dying command” “Don’t give up the ship!”, which is still a popular naval battle cry, and which was invoked by Oliver Hazard Perry‘s personal battle flag, adopted to commemorate his dead friend.
As the mortally wounded Captain James Lawrence of the US frigate Chesapeake lay dying in his cabin, his crew locked in hand-to-hand combat on the quarterdeck above, he is alleged to have uttered the memorable words: “Don’t give up the ship!”
Given the way it has echoed through the years, you might think Lawrence’s memorable plea marked a heroic moment in the history of American armed forces. It didn’t. Not only did Lawrence’s surviving crew give up the ship almost immediately after his exhortation, but historians and military analysts would later conclude that Lawrence had disobeyed orders to avoid combat in the first place, then committed a series of tactical blunders that all but guaranteed he and his ship would lose.
This slogan was what came to mind after the 2016 election as a form of protest against the Trump election to the White House.
“Don’t Give Up the Ship.”
Leading up to the 2016 election, I was taking my dog Dingo to the UT Veterinary Medical Clinic in Knoxville, Tennessee. He had been diagnosed with a brain tumor and he was being evaluated for medical treatment.
The day after the election I had to take him to Knoxville from Chattanooga, about a 120 miles. The election had been called for Trump. But life goes on. While he was being examined, I received a text message from a friend that read: “Do I need to contact someone and have you placed under suicide watch?” A little bit of humor…
Trump’s election was devastating. I simply couldn’t believe that Americans were dumb enough to elect this clown. I knew who Trump was. What Trump was. And you didn’t have to be a genius to arrive at the conclusion that Trump was UNFIT to be President of the Democratic Republic of the United States of America.
But apparently Hillary Clinton had lost.
So I chose to proceed with brain surgery for Dingo. After brain surgery to manage the tumor, he was scheduled for 5 weeks of radiation therapy. I drove him to Knoxville on Monday and picked him up on Friday. Dingo lived another 7 months before seizures set in again and he and I lost the battle.
December1969 I was drafted and reported on February 2nd 1970 to Fort Campbell Kentucky. I stood on a cold dark morning and took this oath:
I, (NAME), do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.
I was 19 years old. I return to this oath on occasion. And since the awarding of the White House to George Bush in 2000 by the Supreme Court, I’ve felt a responsibility to protect the Constitution with my limited voice. My vote and protest.
So during the days between Monday and Friday I looked for flags I could fly in the yard to protest the election of Trump.
The first flag was a Canadian flag. And then I bought a Veteran of the United States flag and hung along side my US Flag. I felt the need to protest the election of the worse President ever in the history of the United States of America. A person unfit to be President.
As the days went by and I took Dingo to Knoxville to receive radiation therapy, I bought a flag of California. While searching for flags, I bought a Liberty Flag and a Don’t give up the Ship flag. But I was running out of space to hang a flag. I purchased a black and white United States Flag that I hung on a house window. I had a bank of 5 windows across the front of the house, so I pulled out my 24 foot ladder and hung the Liberty flag on the first window. Trump was yammering about a Wall that Mexico would pay for so I bought a Mexican flag and hung beside the Liberty Flag.I liked it and I hung the Don’t Give Up the Ship flag also.
The Liberty flag is also called the Moultrie Flag and was commissioned in 1775 by Colonel William Moultrie, to prepare for war with Great Britain. A visual tie to the separation from King George that was made by people who came from Europe to settle in the Americas and fought for freedom from a tyrant like Trump.
During the battle, the flag was actually shot away, but Sergeant William Jasper ran out in the open and hoisted it again, rallying the troops until a new stand could be provided. The story of this dramatic event, along with the pivotal role of the battle itself, earned the flag a place in the hearts of the people of South Carolina, as well as cementing it as a symbol of liberty in the South, and the new confederacy in general.
It therefore became the standard of the South Carolina militia, and when the war officially ended with the liberation of Charleston, on December 14, 1782, it was presented by General Nathanael Greene‘s “Southern Continental & Militia Army,” as the first American flag to be displayed in the South.
I hung the 76 flag to tie back to the founding of America. Freedom from a Tyrant. And finally, the flag of Puerto Rico during the fallout from Hurricane Maria… and Trump’s response, or better said, lack of response to the hurricane.
Today, a week before Trump will leave office, impeached or otherwise, the flags have deteriorated. Only the Liberty flag, the Don’t Give up the Ship… and the flag of Puerto Rico remain. I will remove all of the flags after Mr. Trump is removed from the White House, kicking and screaming if necessary.