One American seldom receives the attention he rightly deserves. Noah Webster, Jr., does not often come immediately to mind when one considers those who helped the United States during its infancy. He should. His services were many and unique in the earliest stages of America.
Even as a boy, Noah was fascinated with language and education. He was troubled by the lack of interest shown by others in formal schooling, and the lack of books and proper facilities bothered him even more.
When the fires of the Revolution broke out in the early 1770's, Noah was a student at Yale. Young and impressionable, he was singed by the flames of patriotism. He longed for a chance to join liberty's cause. He wrote down his thoughts about freedom and government, sharing them with leaders who would put together the United States Constitution. Many of his ideas were incorporated into the document.
But more than a spokesman for democratic government, Noah Webster was a champion for youth and education. He knew what books needed to be written, wrote them, and fought for their acceptance within the school framework. Through his adult life, he saw the need for developing the mind while enriching the soul.
"A man should set goals which would please God and assist his fellow man," observed Noah Webster, Jr.
Surely, Noah took his own advice. As a boy growing up, he turned to the Bible as his code of behavior and his core of learning. It is not surprising that one of Webster's final literary contributions, and in his opinion, his "most glorious achievement," was his own wording of the King James Bible.
Today, Webster is with us still. But he merits a place of honor beyond a name stamped on dictionaries around the world. He was a man who served his fellow man and his country with unselfish devotion. More importantly, he served his God with faith and love.
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