"Washington The Warrior" Tonight at 9 on History Channel * * *
SOME day, in the not too distant future, you just know that there will be a Sept. 11 national holiday - and eventually people forget that it's a day of sadness and not a day for white sales and end-of-summer barbeques.
This would be sort of like what Memorial Day is supposed to be - which is why it's called "Memorial Day" and not, say, "White Sale Monday" or "Hog Dog Appreciation Day."
The History Channel, appropriately enough, does remember, and to celebrate this holiday, tonight they have an excellent special, "Washington The Warrior," detailing the life of our first president who happened to also be our first self-promoter.
The documentary begins with his first taste of, if not war, then at least conflict. One of his first assignments was to bring word to the French commanders in Ohio that the British wanted the "Ohio Country" and wanted them out.
The French promptly sent him packing with his tail between his legs. His month-long journey back was no walk in the park. First his horses gave out, and he took to foot. This was just before his Indian guide turned on him, and he fell into the raging, icy river, nearly drowned, and then almost froze to death that night.
While his trip was a failure, his journal was a big hit. Yes, George managed to get his journal published, and he became an international phenom. Dr. Phil in a three-corner hat.
But more shocking than the fact that the imposing 6-foot-3 Washington matured into a great warrior is that the powers-that-be kept giving him chances to succeed after repeated failures.
In fact, his incompetence leading troops for the British in 1754 actually led to the start of the French and Indian War. He was despised and ridiculed for his missteps and horrible leadership.
Somehow (and you'll learn how here), he went on to several other defeats and the most astounding victories in our nation's history.
The best part of "Washington The Warrior" for us New Yorkers, at any rate, is a thorough explanation and retelling of the major battles that took place in Manhattan, Long Island and, yes, Kips Bay. Wow! Think about it - without George Washington, there would be no Kips Bay Multiplex! Now that's worth a national holiday in and of itself.