Those who take Eliot Cohen’s classes on strategy and policy become better writers and thinkers themselves as a result of his care for the subject and the English language.

Cohen has offered “A Modest Plea for Patriotic History” to provide all Americans, but especially children, examples for our lives. He explains how Random House’s Landmark series did that for an earlier generation. As usual, Cohen’s own example in this essay sets a high bar for others as he gives a brief historical portrait:

In the cemetery of Crown Point, New York—a dozen miles from Fort Ticonderoga, a beautiful place to explore patriotic history if ever there was one—is the grave of Benjamin Warner, who died in 1846 at age ninety. The inscription on his tombstone is simple: “A Revolutionary Soldier and a friend of the slave.” In the museum at Fort Ticonderoga (where I serve as a member of the Board of Trustees), is a battered old knapsack that belonged to him. Like many of his generation, Warner rose and fought, came home, and rose and fought again, from the beginning of the Revolution to its very end. Next to the knapsack is a card with these words:

This Napsack I caryd

Through the war of the

Revolution to achieve the

Merican Independence

I transmit it to my olest sone

To keep it an transmit it to his

Oldest sone and so on to the latest posterity

And whilst one shred of it shall remane

Never surrender your libertys to ye foren

Invador or an aspiring Demygog