Experience the American dream with today’s Patriots of the Past interview. I’m your host, John Gillespie.
It’s July 10, 1777. I’m at Fort West Point with Polish Captain Thaddeus Kosciusko. Thaddeus supports the American cause and has been appointed by General Washington to build West Point.
JG: “Captain Kosciusko, why did you leave Poland to fight in America?”
TK: “Mr. Gillespie, the cause for freedom is self-evident and universal. I am honored and privileged to be a part of your struggle for liberty.”
In 1797, Congress rewarded Kosciusko for his services during the Revolutionary War with a land grant in Ohio.
In Scranton, Pennsylvania, the General Thaddeus Kosciusko historical marker reads, “American Revolutionary War hero, lover of freedom, son of Poland, the first foreign officer to come to the aid of the American cause. Recruited by the Continental Congress for his military brilliance and engineering skill to fight for American freedom and independence.
“Planned and directed the artillery fire in the Battle of Saratoga, the first American victory over the British, considered the turning point of the American Revolutionary War. Designed and helped to erect the fortifications at West Point, where the first monument was erected by the cadets in his honor. Led the famous attack against James Island in the Battle of Charleston where the last shot of the Revolutionary War was fired. Called ‘The Father of the American Artillery.’
“Awarded American citizenship by the Continental Congress. Thomas Jefferson said of him, ‘He is as pure a son of liberty as I have ever known, and of that liberty which is to go to all, and not to the few and rich alone.'”
John and Jan Gillespie are the founders of the Rawhide Boys’ Ranch; they have fostered 351 teenagers and wrote the book Our 351 Sons; they have also assisted numerous churches in developing youth programs and expanding their total church ministries. After running for U.S. Senate, John founded 1776 American Dream, which exists to demonstrate the vision of our founding fathers and help our generation of youth passionately embrace those values.