Major Changes 4: United We Stand

About this Series: I live in Morristown, New Jersey. Many iconic, historic, cultural and revolutionary changes have somehow been associated with this town. This series highlights a few of them, connecting the dots between those events and major changes in your world…and in everyone’s day-to-day lives.

Washington really did sleep here.
His headquarters are just around the block from me. The preserved Revolutionary War barracks are a couple miles away. Morristown was an important staging area for the war.

Pictured is a statue in our town square commemorating the meeting of General George Washington (right), Colonel Alexander Hamilton (middle) and the Marquis de Lafayette in Morristown on May 10, 1780, when Lafayette informed the Americans that the French were coming to support the revolution.

What unites us is more important than our differences. These men, as do us all, had to overcome great differences in order to win a common cause.

While Lafayette is considered key to America’s victory, and served under Washington as a major-general in the Continental Army, he and Washington went at each other all the time. The two were sometimes observed working against each other in secret, each to his own ends.

Hamilton served as Washington’s aide-de-camp and also worked with Washington on the framing of the Constitution. He served as the nation’s first Secretary of the Treasury, which eventually landed him on the face of our ten dollar bill. Yet Washington was known to treat him so badly that several times he asked to be reassigned.

Hamilton also helped Thomas Jefferson when he and Aaron Burr were tied in the electoral college for the presidency. Hamilton helped to defeat Burr, even though he and Jefferson differed on many issues and were known to spend much of their time bad-mouthing each other. (Tabloid-level cat-fights, masked with 18th and 19th century civility.)

The point is: The three men in the statue had great personal differences with each other. Sometimes outright disdain. Yet they are understood, and acted upon, and pledged their lives to, that what united them was more important than their differences. And that’s how remember them. 

How are you getting past your differences with others?

A personal, daily challenge for each of us: 
Remembering to live a life in which what unites us is more important than our differences.

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