Saturday, February 15, 2014

Fraunces Tavern, NYC

Fraunces Tavern, 54 Pearl St.
 Lower Manhattan, NY

A visitor to New York can step back in time and touch our Colonial and Revolutionary past with a tour of Fraunces Tavern on 54 Pearl Street in lower Manhattan  In this haunt of old New York you will find a selection of draft beers, oysters, and American history.  This is a beautifully-restored colonial tavern that was founded by Samuel Fraunces in 1767.  It was in the Long room of Fraunces tavern in 1783 that General George Washington bade an emotional farewell to his officers after winning victory in the American Revolution.  He had hoped to retire peacefully to his farm at Mount Vernon.  It was not to be.

George Washington Life Mask
Morgan Library, NY
George Washington was the "indispensable man" of the American Revolution (  He led the nation in a long struggle against the greatest military power of that age -- the British Empire.  The American Revolution has proven to be by far the most successful Revolution in human history.  It is the  Revolution whose reverberations that continually encourage the cause of human liberty are felt to this day.

GW: "The Indispensable Man"
Fraunces Tavern
At the heart of this Revolution was a leader of exceptional integrity.  He shared the sufferings of the men under his command at Valley Forge and throughout the Revolution.  On March 15, 1783 Washington addressed his officers in Fraunces Tavern thus: "I have never left your side one moment...I have been the constant companion and witness of your Distress, and not among the last to feel and acknowledge your merits...I have ever considered my own Military reputation as inseparably connected with that of the Army."  (Source: The Art of Command, Integrity and Leadership, Caroline Cox, 2008

Commander K. and George Washington
Wall and Broad, NY
Some of Washington's officers were tempted by the prospect of using their military superiority to the over the rings of the Colonial government.  They wanted him to become an American Caesar.  Washington rebuffed those who sought to "overturn the liberties of our Country".  He demanded that they do nothing "which, viewed in the calm light of reason, will lessen the dignity and sully the glory you have hitherto maintained."

54 Pearl Street, NY
At the conclusion of the war the Continental Congress was essentially broke.  His officers feared that neither they nor their men would be paid.  Washington sought to reassure his officers with a densely written text explaining the nation's financial difficulties.  He pulled his spectacles out of his pocket to read more easily and remarked, "Gentlemen, you must pardon me, I have grown gray in your service and now find myself going blind."

Commander K. + GW
Union Square, NYC
In 1783 New York was the nation's capitol.  George Washington formally resigned his commission on 23 December, 1783.  He addressed the president of Congress, Thomas Mifflin as follows: "Having now finished the whorl assigned me, I retire from the great theatre of Action; an bidding an Affectionate farewell to this August body under whose orders I have so long acted, I here offer my commission , and take my leave of all the employments of public life."  Mifflin responded, "You have conducted the great military contest with wisdom and fortitude, through invariably regarding the rights of the civil government through all disasters and changes."   (Source: The Art of Command, Integrity and Leadership, Caroline Cox, 2008

An American Treasure
Thomas Jefferson would pronounce that George Washington's integrity was "most pure, his justice the most inflexible I have ever known, no motives of interest or consanguinity, of friendship or hatred, being able to bias his decision...His character, was, in its mass, perfect (Source: The Art of Command, Integrity and Leadership, Caroline Cox, 2008

It was Washington's sterling reputation for integrity and his incorruptibility that made him the rarest of all creatures -- a successful nation-builder.

If you don't find that important or relevant just consider the contrasting state of affairs in Afghanistan today.  Hamid Karzai's recently assassinated brother (Ahmed Wali Karzai) made a fortune off of illegal drug trafficking.  Billions of dollars of American and Western aid to Afghanistan has found its way to bank accounts in Dubai and Switzerland.
Dining Room, Fraunces Tavern
Fraunces Tavern has an attractive bar and restaurant.  You will also find a small museum upstairs.  There are recreations of colonial era living spaces.

Don't Tread on the Commander!
You will also find a gallery featuring the evolution of the American flag.

Flag Gallery, Fraunces Tavern
Commander Kelly says, "If you live in or are visiting NYC be sure to get in touch with your founding fathers at Fraunces tavern.  Beer, oysters and history are always a great combination!"

Special thanks to Marco Kelly my photographic assistant!

America Invades: How We've Invaded or been Militarily Involved with Almost every Country on Earth

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Super Bowl XLVIII

A grey day at Met Life Stadium
February 2, 2014

I had the great good fortune to take my son Marco with me to New York / New Jersey last week to attend Super Bowl XLVIII.  We had a fantastic time watching the Seahawks win the first Super Bowl Championship in their franchise history.

Super Bowl XLVIII Kicks-off!
It was with great anticipation that we took our seats to watch the "Best offence in football" led by the brilliant Peyton Manning take on the "Best Defence in football," supported all season long by the "12th Man".  I fully expected the Broncos to score at least three touchdowns.

The final score was 43 to 8 in the Seahawk's favor.  Last Sunday in New Jersey the message was clear: BRUNO WAS FROM MARS, BUT PEYTON WAS FROM VENUS!

Did somebody see a football?
Commander K. goes to Super Bowl XLVIII

We Seattle fans have been waiting patiently since 1976 for the team to win its first Super Bowl.  That long wait paid off in 2014.  The Seattle Supersonics, led by coach Lenny Wilkins, were the first to bring a professional World Championship to Seattle in 1979.

Seahawks driving

There is so much about this Seahawk team to love.  Russell Wilson the sophomore quarterback who was deemed "too short" to play at a professional level has proven his ability to lead this team with poise and grace (see Letterman interview below).  The scary thing (for other NFL teams) is that Russell Wilson is still growing as a player and will be even better next season.  Russell asked of his teammates "Why not us?"

The "Beast" takes it up the middle!
Marshawn Lynch is my personal favorite Seahawk player.  The laconic Lynch believes in "deeds not words".  The Beast leaves tacklers in the dust and munches on skittles.

Hauschka extended scores again!
Then there is their nearly perfect kicker Stephen Hauschka who receives relatively little attention.  He is a graduate of Middlebury who studied neuroscience and never played football until college (

Percy Harvin redeemed an injury-clouded season with some spectacular runs last Sunday.  Mercy, mercy, Mr. Percy!  Seahawk fans are excited about the prospect of a healthy Harvin for the whole 2014 season.

Richard Sherman, with his outburst following the incredible conclusion of the NFC Championship game, received lots of attention.  We tend to forget that he had just been shoved in the face by Crabtree.  The fans have no idea how much these two players may have taunted each other in the previous three hours of heated competition.  He was amped up in full "warpaint" mode at the time, but there are other sides to Richard Sherman.  His Compton to Stanford to Seattle story is truly inspiring.  Sherman's March to the Super Bowl reminds us that "those who think ill of themselves usually have good reason to."

How can anyone not be touched by the inspiring personal story of 23 year-ol Derrick Coleman? (See video below).

To my SF friends I say "Respect!"  The two best teams in the NFL today happen to play in the NFC West.  The best game of the postseason was the NFC Championship game featuring the Seahawks and the 49ers.  Every time these two teams play it is a "Clash of the Titans".

It was, of course, loud throughout the game.  We sat next to two well-behaved young men who had been college roommates.  One was kitted out in Seahawk blue while the other was dressed in Bronco / convict orange.  There is hope for bipartisanship!

How Sweet it is!
Finally, there is the Seahawk team owner Paul Allen. Allen, a co-founder of Microsoft, is a cancer survivor who loves World War II aircraft.  Allen also owns the Flying Heritage Collection -- a favorite spot of mine in Everett, WA (  His dad was a WWII vet.

Congrats too to all my colleagues at Q-13 Fox in Seattle who did an outstanding job in covering this championship team from the preseason to the amazing parade celebration in Seattle on Wednesday, February 5th.  Job well done!

Congrats also to all the team at ChyronHego for the fantastic graphics for the game on FOX!  ( Way to go Kevin, Johan and Soren!


You can now purchase Commander Kelly's first book, America Invades or on