There are many things wrong with public education in this country, as we all know. But one thing that’s almost never mentioned is how little young people today learn about many of the heroes we were taught to admire.
If you want to see evidence of this, play a word-association game with any teenager you know. Ask them to tell you about John Paul Jones, the Bonhomme Richard, or the phrase, “Sir, I have not yet begun to fight!” You’ll be sorely disappointed with the answers.
It was on Sept. 23, 1779, during the war for American independence, that Jones, commanding the Bonhomme Richard, engaged the British man-of-war Serapis. During the hard-fought sea battle, the American ship suffered considerable damage and British captain Richard Pearson asked Jones to surrender. It was then that the American captain issued his famous reply, “Sir, I have not yet begun to fight!”
The battle continued for three more hours until Pearson surrendered his ship to the Americans. Shortly after boarding it, Jones and his men watched their own ship, the Bonhomme Richard, sink to the bottom of the sea.