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EP327: The Day British Troops Finally Left America's Shores following the Revolution and Overcoming the Loss of Both My Arms at 10

Our American Stories / Lee Habeeb
The Truth Network Radio
May 30, 2022 3:00 am

EP327: The Day British Troops Finally Left America's Shores following the Revolution and Overcoming the Loss of Both My Arms at 10

Our American Stories / Lee Habeeb

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May 30, 2022 3:00 am

On this episode of Our American Stories, Bill Bryk brings us the tale of the day British forces evacuated New York City after the Revolutionary War... a full 2 years after the British Army surrendered. Madysen Acey’s life took an unexpected turn when she was 10-years-old but, she wouldn't trade any of it for the person she's become.

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Time Codes:

00:00 - The Day British Troops Finally Left America's Shores following the Revolution

25:00 - Overcoming the Loss of Both My Arms at 10

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Here's Bill. The British army held New York City for two years after Cornwallis surrendered to George Washington at Yorktown on October 19, 1781. The city's population had fallen below 10,000. Most of the residents were loyalist refugees from revolutionary terrorism. Accident, disaster, and the war had disrupted civic life. The Great Fire of September 21, 1776 had burned everything between Whitehall and Broad Streets, as far up Broadway as Rector Street, and as far up Broadway as Beaver Street. Rents had risen 400% within the first year of occupation.

The price of food and other goods and services, 800%. The provincial assembly, city council, and courts were dormant, although nothing indicates the politicians had stopped drawing their salaries. The city was governed by the British army, and its government, in the absence of a free press, had become corrupt. Some New Yorkers made fortunes. Mr. Joshua Loring, who had pimped his blonde wife to General Sir William Howe to gain appointment as commissary of prisoners, became wealthy by selling provisions meant for prisoners of war on the black market. Others cloaked their sadism in the red coat. Captain William Cunningham, the Provo Marshal, commanded the jails and prison ships holding American prisoners of war. The Sons of Liberty had roughed him up before the war. He repaid the debt with interest. He enjoyed torturing people. According to Burroughs and Wallace's Gotham, Cunningham admitted to murdering as many as 2,000 American prisoners by starvation, hanging, or poisoning their flower rations with arsenic.

At night, he swaggered through his domains, wearing the red coat with silver lace and epaulettes, the cocked hat, the powdered wig, and the tall glossy boots and spurs, with a whip in his hand, sending his prisoners to bed, shouting, Kennel ye sons of b****, kennel d**** me. On November 30, 1782, the American and British delegates signed preliminary articles of peace. The first article reads, His Britannic Majesty acknowledges the said United States to be free and independent states.

The articles were proclaimed in the King's name from the steps of the City Hall on Wall Street. The loyalists were horrified. William Smith, a longtime resident merchant and fervent loyalist, wrote, That the news shocks me as much as the loss of all I had in the world and my family with it. Thousands sold everything, furniture, houses, land, goods at fire sale prices and prepared to leave. A few committed suicide. A few were confident of their ability to survive any change of regime. James Riker recorded that a New Yorker said to his tailor, How does business go? Not very well, the tailor replied.

My customers have all learned how to turn their own coats. Sir Guy Carleton, commander in chief of His Majesty's forces in North America, began organizing his command's withdrawal from the city in April 1783. Concerned about personal reprisals against the loyalists, he held out until every Tory who wanted to get out had left. In the meantime, his staff arranged transportation, settled accounts, paid bills, and auctioned off huge quantities of army surplus. The first 5,000 loyalists left New York for Nova Scotia and New Brunswick on April 27, 1783.

Thousands more followed. With them were numerous African Americans, former slaves, freed by the British military government for their services in the King's armies. On September 3, 1783, Americans, British, French, and Spanish signed the Treaty of Paris. The news reached New York in early November. On November 21, 1783, Carleton ordered all British forces to withdraw from Long Island and upper Manhattan. That morning, George Washington met George Clinton, the governor of New York, at Tarrytown. They rode south through Yonkers to Harlem, where they stopped at a tavern near what is now Frederick Douglass Boulevard and 126th Street. The day chosen for the evacuation was Tuesday, November 25, 1783.

It dawned cold with a bitter northwest wind. During the morning, Amos' day ran up the Stars and Stripes over her tavern and boarding house on Murray Street, its first appearance in the city since September 1776. Captain Cunningham, resplendent in red coat and white wig, pounded on the door. Take in that flag, he roared.

The city is ours until noon. He then tried to pull it down. She belted him full in the face with her broomstick, bloodying his nose, and then dealt the captain such lusty blows as made the powder fly in clouds from his wig and forced him to beat a retreat. Washington had chosen General Henry Knox to command the American troops marching from McGowan's Pass in what is now Northeastern Central Park into the city. Knox had been a bookseller, a dumpy, bespectacled little man who had read every book in his stock. The war transformed his theoretical passion for artillery, after all he'd read all the books about it, into practical experience.

Behind the glasses and the big belly was the soul of a lion. And you're listening to Bill Bryke tell the story of the British troops finally leaving New York. The British had come to win, and my goodness, the battle inside this country. The loyalists taking one side, that was one third of the country, siding with the crown, one third with the patriots, and one third hiding under their desks, hoping for it to pass over. And New York City, chaos, people fleeing, it was an exodus.

The town had 27,000 people, at certain points it got down to 8,000. When we come back, more of this remarkable story, the British finally leaving America, once and for all, that story here on Our American Stories. Folks, if you love the stories we tell about this great country, and especially the stories of America's rich past, know that all of our stories about American history, from war to innovation, culture and faith, are brought to us by the great folks at Hillsdale College. A place where students study all the things that are beautiful in life, and all the things that are good in life. And if you can't get to Hillsdale, Hillsdale will come to you with their free and terrific online courses.

Go to hillsdale.edu to learn more. Soon millions will make Medicare coverage decisions for next year, and UnitedHealthcare can help you feel confident about your choices. For those eligible, Medicare Annual Enrollment runs from October 15th through December 7th. If you're working past age 65, you might be able to delay Medicare enrollment depending on your employer coverage.

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Helping people live healthier lives. I know everything there is to know about running a coffee shop, but for small business insurance, I need my State Farm agent. They make sure my business stays piping hot, and I stay cool and confident. See, they're small business owners too, so they know how to help you best. State Farm is in your corner and on it. Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there.

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Which my family, we definitely have sensitive skin. So, the next time the whole family gets home from long vacation or you get the kids back from summer camp or whatever the situation is that's caused this big pile of dirty clothes, just know that all free clear mega packs, they have your back. Purchase all free clear mega packs today and conquer any laundry load for all fabric types. And we're back with our American stories and the story of Evacuation Day, the now forgotten holiday which celebrated the 25th of November in 1783. On that day, the British armies finally left the now free United States after the Revolutionary War. When we last left off, Bill Bright was telling us how General Washington had chosen a bookseller turned general to take over as the British left our new country. Here's Bill to tell us more about General Henry Knox. In 1775, in the dead of winter, he inspired continentals and militiamen to drag the cannon seized at Ticonderoga, in the name of the great Jehovah and the Continental Congress, to Albany and across the Berkshires to Washington's army at Boston, and he had marched with them.

As a boy, I noticed a monument near my family's home in Latham, New York. It read, through this place passed General Henry Knox in the winter of 1775-1776 to deliver to General George Washington at Cambridge, the train of artillery from Fort Ticonderoga used to force the British army to evacuate Boston. Knox set out early from McGown's Pass, heading a column of some 800-foot dragoons and artillery. He paused at the Bowery and Third Avenue, near today's Cooper Union, until 1 p.m., chatting with the British officers commanding the Redcoats standing a block or so before him. The last British detachments now received orders to move. They moved down the Bowery and Chatham Street, picking up their outposts as they passed, and wheeling into Pearl Street, marched to the East River Wards, where they rode to the fleet. Knox followed the British down Chatham Street and then turned onto Broadway. He marched south to Cape's Tavern, a little below Trinity Church, and formally took possession of New York City in the name of the United States.

On receiving a message from Knox that he had done so, Washington swung into the saddle and rode downtown, Governor Clinton at his side. At the new jail, at the northeast corner of today's City Hall Park, Captain Cunningham paraded the Provo Guard for the last time. Accompanied by the hangman in his yellow jacket, Cunningham's command passed between a platoon of British troops, which fell in behind them as they marched down Broadway. They and the City Hall's main guard thus became the last enemy forces in history to occupy New York City. Washington rode down Pearl Street to Wall Street and then went on a wall to Broadway.

At Cape's Tavern, a group of citizens welcomed the commander in chief. An eyewitness said, The troops just leaving us were as if equipped for show, and with their scarlet uniforms and burnished arms made a brilliant display. The troops that marched in, on the contrary, were ill-clad and weather-beaten and made a forlorn appearance.

But then they were our troops, and as I looked at them and thought upon all they had done for us, my heart and eyes were full, and I admired and gloried in them the more because they were weather-beaten and forlorn. The British had left the Union flag flying over Fort George on the battery. The halyards, the lines for raising and lowering the flag, were gone. The banner had been nailed to the staff. And the pole was greased, heel to truck, to prevent or hinder the removal of the emblem of royalty and the raising of the stars and stripes.

The grease rebuffed all efforts to climb the staff. In the crowd was Captain John Van Arsdale, a New Yorker, revolutionary soldier, and peacetime sailor. Recalling Peter Goulet's hardware store about ten minutes away in Hanover Square, he sprinted across town and liberated a saw, hatchet, cleats, rope, and nails. He began nailing the cleats into the greasy pole. He climbed a little, drove in more cleats, and climbed farther. Bit by bit he ascended the pole. He reached the top. He ripped down the British flag and flung it to the cheering crowd. Then he attached new halyards and scrambled down the pole as the stars and stripes ran up it. General Knox's field guns began a thirteen-gun salute.

As the colors went up and the cannon roared, the British weighed anchor and made for the open sea. That night, Washington and his officers met with General Clinton in France's tavern at Broad and Pearl Street for a feast of reason and a flow of soul. They offered thirteen toasts to allies, friends, comrades living and dead, their hopes for their new country, and certain immutable principles. The next nine days were marked by what one observer called good humor, hilarity, and mirth. Thus, at Governor Clinton's dinner for the French ambassador on Tuesday, December 2nd, 1783, his 120 guests consumed 135 bottles of Madeira, described as, it may not look like much, but it can fell an elephant, 36 bottles of port, 60 bottles of beer, and 30 bowls of punch, while breaking 60 wine glasses and eight cut glass decanters.

On Thursday, December 4th, Washington breakfasted with his officers in the long room on the second floor of France's tavern. Then the commander-in-chief rose to his feet and there was silence. Most intelligent warriors who have written of their experiences from Xenophon to William Manchester admit that they fought not for king, flag, or country, but for the guys they were with.

The revolutionaries were no exception. Washington said, with a heart full of love and gratitude, I now take leave of you. I most devoutly wish that your later days may be as prosperous and happy as your former ones have been glorious and honorable.

Then he could say no more. General Knox stepped forward, embraced him, and both men wept. At last, composure regained. The commander-in-chief went down the stairs, popped on his cocked hat, and strode into Pearl Street. The infantryman snapped to present arms. He acknowledged the salute. Then he walked west. Orders were barked. The column moved out behind him. Near the battery, at the foot of Whitehall Street, a barge waited to take him to Paulus Hook on the New Jersey shore.

From there, he traveled to Philadelphia, where he resigned his commission to Congress and returned to private life. November 25th was celebrated as Evacuation Day in New York for more than a century. But Evacuation Day was gradually overwhelmed by R. H. Macy's aggressive promotion of Thanksgiving, a rival end of November holiday.

Around the beginning of the First World War, it faded away. Yet in 1983, through the support of Manhattan Borough President Andrew Stein, New York City commemorated the bicentennial of the evacuation. A parade marched down Broadway to the Battery, featuring hundreds of reenactors in the uniforms of the British and Continental Forces. The British Union flag was flying from the staff of Castle Clinton. Then Harry Van Arsdale, the Union leader and direct descendant of Captain Van Arsdale, stepped forward to lower the British colors, which were presented to Her Majesty's Consul General, who kissed them.

Van Arsdale clipped the stars and stripes to the lanyards and ranted up the pole. A dozen brass muzzleloader cannons along the Battery began firing a salute, and the crowd cheered wildly. On August 16, 1824, Marie Joseph Paul Ives Roche Gilbert de Montier, Marquis de Lafayette, the last living general of the Revolution, the hero of two worlds, landed at the Battery to begin his tour of the United States. Tens of thousands were awaiting him.

Among them was a company of veterans of the Revolution. The Marquis insisted on inspecting them and slowly walked down the line, greeting and shaking hands with each man. Lafayette took a second look at the last man. Then he smiled. Van Arsdale, he said, I remember you.

Then the captain who had ascended the flagpole and the Marquis, who had been a major general at 19, embraced. And we thank Bill Bright for that beautiful storytelling. And my goodness, well, that's why we do what we do here at Our American Stories. What we've lived through as a country, what George Washington did, Evacuation Day, the day the British troops finally leave America in 1783. Put that on your celebration calendar, folks. What a great day, especially if you're New Yorkers.

This is Our American Stories. Soon millions will make Medicare coverage decisions for next year, and UnitedHealthcare can help you feel confident about your choices. For those eligible, Medicare annual enrollment runs from October 15th through December 7th. If you're working past age 65, you might be able to delay Medicare enrollment depending on your employer coverage.

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Purchase All-Free Clear Mega Packs today and conquer any laundry load for all fabric types. This is Our American Stories, and up next, a story about a girl whose life at the age of 10 changed in ways that she could never have imagined. Madison Acey, well, she's living proof that through faith and through perseverance, you can overcome the obstacles that life throws at you. Here's Madison with her story. I grew up in a very small Mississippi Delta town.

We had a population of 5,000 people. I had a pretty normal life like when I was really young. I went to a very small private Christian school and we were all very close because there was so little of us in the town. And that made things kind of easier because when I was 10 years old, my life kind of started becoming really unordinary. I was at my best friend's house at the time and like most kids in the Delta, we were outside playing in the fields and we had been cleaning her dad's barn all day and then we decided that we wanted to go play on the tractor that had been sitting there for a few years. And we went over to it and we started playing on it and I had on rubber boots and they got caught in the railing on the top of the tractor. So when I started to fall, I caught myself on a live power line that was hanging on the side of the road and it then electrocuted me with 10,000 volts electricity. Electricity exited from my hip and my back and then shot out of my hands and it completely killed my right arm and then my left hand. And my friend sat there and watched the whole thing.

She was only 10 years old too, so it was very hard for her to witness. So her mom then called the ambulance and it took them a while to get there, but it also took them a while to get my hands off the power line because I was knocked unconscious. So the farmhands came over and finally got me down. If I wouldn't have been wearing the rubber rain boots, I would not have been grounded.

The electricity would have exploded out of my feet and my arms and back and that would have killed me, so ultimately the rain boots are what saved my life. The ambulance finally arrived and I remember waking up and all I could see was clouds and a blue sky. And looking around and seeing everybody and I remember hearing everybody screaming and freaking out and crying and so that confused me because I had no idea what had happened. And they wrapped me up in what looked like tin foil and then it was like a light switch went out and I remember waking up a month later. I was airlifted from Dundee, Mississippi to Le Bonheur in Memphis where they instantly amputated my right arm. And then the next morning I was flown to Cincinnati, Ohio and they tried to save my left hand and it just kept making it worse and it was almost going to kill me so we had to amputate it at a little bit below the elbow. I was having surgery every single day, twice a day, and then after almost a month and a half, I finally was good enough to where I could go home.

I was in pressure garments to keep my wounds sealed so it was like a skin tight outfit that was from my knees up to my neck that I had to wear all day every day. Then as soon as I got home from the hospital, I had letters and stuff, people had written me on my floor. So I slowly found a way to get onto the ground and I started trying to crawl and since my balance was so weak, I face planted onto the floor. Being so young, it just was really scary because I was like, oh my gosh, I'm never going to be able to do anything again. Then I broke my leg, jumped on the bed and it snapped.

That was because when the electricity exited my hip, it had caused a hairline fracture in my femur that was just waiting to break and all it needed was a little push. So I was then in a wheelchair for eight weeks and still had to go back to school. When my friends first saw me, some of them were excited to see me because they were happy that I was alive, but they were also scared at the same time because we were so young and we had never experienced anything like that. So it was just really different, my friends adjusting to being around me and they also had to figure out what I needed help with and when was the right time to ask me for help. Honestly, that was my motivation to learn stuff so well when I was younger because I didn't want my friends to not want to be around me because they were going to have to do this and this and this for me just over and over. When you're a 12-year-old little kid, that's annoying. You just want to be a kid.

You don't want to sit there and help your friend do everything. So it kind of just taught me to learn to do stuff for myself. For almost a year after my accident, I literally could do nothing for myself. I literally had to get help with everything, my hair, brushing my teeth, changing clothes, eating, showering, everything. Slowly after that, I was just like, I'm going to have to figure it out because I can't sit like this for the rest of my life, having my mom help me with everything.

At first, it was obviously very difficult relearning everything and trying to figure out life again at such a young age, but slowly things just started falling into place. When I first had my accident, obviously our big mission was to find prosthetics for me so I could start learning to use them. And we ended up getting two prosthetics, it was one arm, and then I had a hand that looked very realistic. But the thing is, we got them, took them home, everything, and then we had to find the process of paying for them. And so we were trying to go through insurance and they denied us and said that hands were not medically necessary. So then things started getting really difficult. We were scared that they were going to take them away from us, but we ended up finding a way to pay for them.

But they were very expensive so it took a long time. By the time I had finally gotten to where I could have the prosthetics and found some I liked and I was comfortable with, I had already learned to do just about every single thing. So it was way harder to try to relearn with prosthetics because then it was like starting back at square one. So I do still have prosthetics. I have a right arm and a left hand and they are currently in the bottom of my closet and they have been for the past three and a half years. Another reason I really don't use them is because they're extremely heavy and it's not a very comfortable feeling. My arm is really squished in there and will lose circulation and fall asleep.

And on my right side, it's a full two foot arm hanging off my shoulder made of metal and so it's really heavy and my shoulder starts cramping. Most of my friends will tell you it's just weird seeing me with them on. One time my friend and I were at my house and she wanted to see me with my prosthetics on so I surprised her and walked out with them on and put tears in her eyes because she had never seen me with arms before and so it's just a completely different person you're seeing.

I just wasn't supposed to have arms and so all my friends know that. And you're listening to Madison Acey tell her story and oh my goodness what a thing to happen at the age of 10 and to wake up a month later and really understand the gravity of that and how you're going to live the rest of your life without arms and then to listen to her voice. Well you knew well and you're going to know soon that she made it through but my goodness put yourself in her shoes and always we like to do these things and tell these stories because the obstacles Americans overcome each and every day that humans overcome with their own perseverance and grit is just remarkable. My goodness that she said at a certain point at this young age I'm going to have to figure these things out for myself I don't want my mom doing everything for me and my goodness to hear from an insurance company hands aren't medically necessary.

Well how absurd but in the end Madison agreed and her story continues here on our American stories. Soon millions will make Medicare coverage decisions for next year and UnitedHealthcare can help you feel confident about your choices for those eligible Medicare annual enrollment runs from October 15th through December 7th. If you're working past age 65 you might be able to delay Medicare enrollment depending on your employer coverage.

It can seem confusing but it doesn't have to be. Visit UHCmedicarehealthplans.com to learn more. UnitedHealthcare helping people live healthier lives. I know everything there is to know about running a coffee shop but for small business insurance I need my State Farm agent. They make sure my business stays piping hot and I stay cool and confident. See they're small business owners too so they know how to help you best. State Farm is in your corner and on it. Like a good neighbor State Farm is there.

Call your local State Farm agent for a quote today. Doing household chores can already be time consuming and tedious and there's nothing more daunting than facing piles and piles of laundry that need to be done. I mean that can be overwhelming for anyone. So if you want to get those larger laundry loads done right and get back to your life try all free clear mega packs. All free clear mega packs are bigger packs with two times the cleaning ingredients compared to a regular pack so that you can tackle any laundry load without the worry. All free clear mega packs are also 100% free of perfumes and dyes and they're gentle on skin which is great for any family's sensitive skin needs.

Which my family we definitely have sensitive skin. So the next time the whole family gets home from long vacation or you get the kids back from summer camp or whatever the situation is that's caused this big pile of dirty clothes. Just know that all free clear mega packs they have your back.

Purchase all free clear mega packs today and conquer any laundry load for all fabric types. And we return to our American stories and to Madison AC story of becoming a double amputee at the age of 10. Here's Madison continue with her story. It became a completely different household. Mom had to give me so much attention helping me that my younger brother would feel left out.

But he was really young at the time so he was always worried he was like is this you're going to die. It started to feel less like a home but more like an at home hospital so it kind of got difficult for a while but they brought me this little band that usually goes on people with arthritis that can't use their fingers and it happened to fit the end of my arm perfectly. You can insert like a pen a pencil a fork makeup brushes my toothbrush. That's how I do everything almost is my cuff driving was one of the scariest things to learn how to do obviously but it was never really a difficult thing to do. I've always thought it's because that's the one thing I did not know how to do before I lost my hands.

So learning to drive with half an arm was the only way I knew. So I just went on doing high school I played basketball and I was a cheerleader. I did track did all kinds of things I traveled and being an amputee gave me opportunities to go to the Bethany Hamilton retreat in California every year starting in eighth grade. It's a retreat for amputees that we all get to get together and just bond on what we have in common.

Going to the Bethany Hamilton retreat has been the greatest experience of my life. That is why I'm honestly so grateful to be an amputee. Every single girl that comes in is completely unique has a completely different story. A lot of kids were born without limbs.

Some come in about accidents. One of my best friends that I met there. She lost her hand when she was three years old.

She put it in a meat grinder three years old. So it's just not it's just awesome to hear all these crazy stories and like we can all just sit back and laugh about it because we've all been through stuff like that. It was always interesting meeting new amputees and seeing how they did things and how you would assume that we would be all more comfortable around each other. But sometimes I'm more comfortable around my friends with arms and all their limbs because it's not as intimidating as crazy as that sounds. When you're in a room full of girls that are every single one of them are an amputee and you're seeing how different everybody does everything. It just kind of overwhelms you and you're like, well, am I doing this wrong? Am I doing this wrong?

Should I be doing it like this? This one girl has one hand so she can do a ponytail. Makes me so mad. I'm like, I just need two fingers.

I just need two fingers. And so when you leave the room, you try to go do all these things in ways you saw these other girls doing them. And it frustrates you because you're feeling like you're having to go from step one. Even though I love all of my amputee friends, I wouldn't trade them for the world. It does get overwhelming shot, like feeling like you're doing things wrong because you're not doing them the same way they are. But then when I'm the only amputee, I feel like I'm doing everything the way I'm supposed to be doing it because that's my natural way of doing it versus their natural way of doing it.

Bethany has way more people that look at her than we do on average. And so she just gives good advice on how to not let the negative people affect you and just to keep putting your faith in God because he's done this to us for a purpose. I remember sitting in the hospital with my mom and one night her Bible fell off of her bed and it turned to Jeremiah 29 11. For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and to give you a future. And it's just literally what has gotten me through everything because God has a plan for me. He knows what he's done with my life. He doesn't make mistakes. This is his purpose for me and his purpose was to prove to others God is going to bring you through it.

He doesn't do this to punish you, but to prove to you and to prove to others that everything has a purpose in life. You're figured out eventually. One of the scariest things after my accident that I always thought about was, Oh my gosh, I'm never going to have a boyfriend. Like that was like the biggest fear of mine was I'm never going to have someone love me.

I'm never going to get married and all that stuff. And thinking about, am I going to be able to take care of my kids? That's always been something that's been scary because obviously I have not experienced that yet. And it's just scary to think that what if I'm stuck being a mom and I can't take care of my child? And I know that I'm not even a mom yet. That's like the mom's biggest fear. And simply like wanting to go get a manicure, wanting to wear cute rings and stuff.

It sounds lame, but that's stuff girls love to do and I don't get to do that. Obviously at times I'm like, this is awful. It's hard to explain because of the mindset that I've created for myself. I don't get upset because if I would have had my accident, my life would be completely different than it is now. I would not have the friends I have. Nothing in my life would have been the same.

And so it's hard to be upset when looking at it like that. When I got to college is when I first started to really have to do things on my own completely. And there was a few things that I just really did not know how to do by myself. Well, I didn't think I knew how to do for myself.

The first thing was learning to brush my hair. I had never done that before and I figured out how to do it. And one day I was going somewhere and of course the shoes I wanted to wear at the places were untied. So I just figured out how to do it. I just had to use my mouth and tie my shoes.

And there's just so many things I really did not think I was going to be able to do. And as time went on and I was forced to learn how to do them myself, it became easier and easier. And now on I do it all by myself. When I'm in class I write my notes just like every other student does. I can load my backpack up just as fast as every other student. I'm usually the first person out of the room.

During school I don't feel any different than anybody else. After I graduate college in the spring I'm going to attend an online school to get my interior design license and become hopefully an interior designer and I would like to remodel houses. That's my favorite thing to do. But it's also a job that I can physically do. Most of this stuff is done on a computer so it just makes it really easy for me to physically be able to have an interior design job. There's almost no job that I can do right now at this age without a degree. So it's very upsetting when you're told that hands aren't necessary to live so you don't qualify for disability and stuff. When there are people out that get it, just any excuse and they take it and run with it.

I would love more than anything to be able to go out and work. I don't like sitting at home being lazy. I can't stand it.

My brother's always like, well go be a cashier and I'm always like, what do you want me to spit your change back at you? So it's just always a joke because I mean yeah there's things that people just assume that I could do and they just don't think about like how would I actually do it. Because people take for granted what they have in life and they don't appreciate what they do have. Something I always say is life isn't about what you've lost, it's about what you have.

That's just what I try to keep in mind and help people understand is you've got to get up and move on with your life because you were given this life for a purpose and not to waste it. I've ended up having really a pretty normal, extremely normal life just physically look different than everybody else. I've been very fortunate to find people that could care less and all my friends tell me all the time they completely forget that I don't have hands and it's really refreshing to hear. Even though my life has not turned out anything like I would have expected, I literally would not trade my life for the world. I feel that I was handpicked by God to be an amputee and to show others that you can do anything you put your mind to. And that's the main thing that I've learned is if you want something, you can achieve it no matter your circumstances. So I just am very thankful to be an amputee because it helps me stand out in ways that others may not and inspire others to achieve the goals they want throughout their life.

And thanks to our own Madison, Madison Martin, for bringing us the story of Madison Acey, who also happens to be, well, our Madison's friend. And what a story and what a story we can all learn from. I mean that she formulated the sentence, I am grateful to be an amputee is really remarkable.

Don't let negative people affect you, she said. And she also pointed out that her faith in God, as she put it, it got me through everything. By the way, is that a theme we hear on this show regularly from people who suffer great adversity? And we don't go looking for that answer, folks.

But we don't edit it out when it is. I think that's the difference between us and so many other storytellers out there. Moreover, when she said these words, well, I just started crying. The scariest thing she said, the biggest fear I have is that nobody will ever love me.

And will I be able to take care of my kids? Yes and yes to both of those things, Madison. Madison Acey's story, a story of courage, of grit, of resilience, of faith, here on Our American Stories. .
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-02-16 07:07:17 / 2023-02-16 07:23:56 / 17

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