Nobody appreciates the advancements in our lives any more than your Commander, but as important as they are to the enhancement of our daily quality of life, I still revert to some old established habits. Recently it came to my attention that on October 16, 1758 Noah Webster was born in West Hartford, Connecticut. School children grew up with his “Blue-Backed Speller,” which was his first educational book that was a fore runner of the American Dictionary of the English Language published in 1828.
Webster was the first to establish the Americanized spelling of words as opposed to the English form, such as color instead of colour. He argued that education in the young republic should promote love of country, which I believe is still a very good idea all these years later. It is reported that Webster felt that every child in America should be acquainted with his own country. Webster said, “He should read books that furnish him with ideas that will be useful to him in life and practice. As soon as he opens his lips, he should rehearse the history of his own country; he should lisp the praise of liberty, and of those illustrious heroes and statesmen who have wrought a revolution in her favor.”
With the passage of time we have moved from writing with a quill pen to the printed world, typewriters, and ever advancing computers. While I love my computer, especially the spell-checker feature, I keep my precious copy of Webster’s New World Dictionary close at hand. Almost daily I find myself referring to the hard copy of the book for new words to express my thoughts and at the same time to expand my knowledge and communication skills.
Yes, I know that I can use the many expanded features of the computer, but I find myself very comfortable with the printed pages. Frequently I read a couple of pages after I have found the word I was originally pursuing. I suspect we can just write it off to the fact that it is very hard to teach an old dog a new trick. Hopefully, we will all keep our dictionaries close for a long time to come. Thanks, Noah Webster for your marvelous creation. I thank God the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) was not in existence back in 1828 to stifle Webster’s creative and educational contribution to mankind.