Friday, January 06, 2006

Capture the Penguin!

As Mudville Gazette reminds me, before there were Not-One-Cent tokens, the U.S. Congress itself minted worthy medals:

This one commemorates the capture of the HMS Penguin by the USS Hornet after the War of 1812 was over, but before such news could be transmitted to the respective navies. As America fought this war in part to protest against the forcible impressment of Americans into the British Navy, the naval battles were especially fierce.

The original, cast in gold, was awarded to Captain James Biddle, commander of the Hornet. Who was Captain Biddle? Biddle was one of those Americans who had been taken prisoner by the Barbary pirates but was liberated as a result of America's war against them!

I do not doubt that Captain Biddle knew, due to his captivity in the Pirates' den, the importance of the struggle for liberty, freedom, and the United States of America.

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