23, 2010 -- William Bradford, governor of the Plymouth Colony, was born
in 1590 in a small farming town in England. Tragically, his father
died when he was only one year old. His mother, Alice, then raised
him until he was four, when she remarried and sent him to live with
his grandfather. But his grandfather died when William was only six.
Further tragedy hit when his mother died only one year later. So he
was then sent to live with two uncles.
At 18, William fled England's religious persecution with other
Separatists, arriving in Amsterdam in 1608. In 1609, he moved with
his Puritan church to Holland, where he resided for the next 11
years. He was a silk weaver by trade.
In 1620, at 30 years old, William and his wife, Dorothy, sold their
house and joined the Mayflower expedition and sailed for America.
Tragically, after enduring the difficult crossing of the Atlantic,
and while the ship was anchored at Cape Cod and the men were
exploring on land, Dorothy fell overboard and drowned.
As he had done repeatedly throughout his life, William endured
through the loss of his wife, only to have to face with the other
pilgrims one of the harshest years of their lives, during which only
half of them survived. Bradford himself got sick and wasn't expected
to live, but recovered.
In 1621, Bradford was elected second governor of Plymouth, and,
because of his superior leadership and ability to endure, he was
re-elected nearly every year thereafter. His duties included
managing the colony's finances, communicating with investors and
neighbors, overseeing the courts, formulating policy and law, etc.
Many of his letters, poems and writings survive to this day.
One thing that has made America great is its long lineage of valiant
leaders in every generation. These are the type of men and women
about whom our sixth president, John Quincy Adams, described, “If
your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and
become more, you are a leader.”
One more extraordinary example of that type of leadership can be
found in my friend and the new commandant of the Marines Corps, Gen.
James Amos. After being recommended by Defense Secretary Robert
Gates in June and endorsed by President Obama in July, my wife, Gena,
and I (among many others around the world) were thrilled to hear he
was appointed on Oct. 22, 2010.
By Chuck Norris