“Our Army manned the air, it rammed the ramparts, it took over the airports, it did everything it had to do…” — Donald Trump, during his “Salute to America” speech, 7/4/19
It was before the dawn of September 18, 1776. Great Britain and the 13 American colonies were in the thick of the Revolutionary War. The Battles of Lexington and Concord had been fought. The Declaration of Independence had been signed. It’d be another three days before the British Invasion of New York City — which is remembered as The Great Fire of 1776.
But this was a day in history unlike any other.
When the British Army’s ships docked at what is now known as Jamaica Bay — the lagoon on the southern side of Long Island — the Minutemen were ready and waiting.
The militia hid in the long lines at customs and the multitude of Hudson News’ stands, amongst the travelers fumbling to gather their belongings after going through security, as well as the ones asking if this was the terminal with Shake Shack. Corners of America the British had never seen, paths they couldn’t possibly navigate.
When the British marched through Terminal 2 and stopped to ask if they could order from the Delta Sky Club Menu, the Minutemen attacked from the CIBO Express. When they marched through the airport’s largest terminal, T4, our brave army men took them down hidden among the dozens of airlines and thousands of travelers rushing to make their last-minute gate change. When the Redcoats made it through the international gate at Terminal 1, the guerrilla war men surprised them from behind the racks of Saint Laurent clothing and displays of Coach handbags. Luxury goods that the British generals would predictably stop for — King George III would have gone absolutely mad for the Hermes Crocodile Himalayan Birkin bag.
Terminal by terminal, the British Army was turned back and vanquished by our civilian colonists. Their fallen soldiers forever lost to the stampeding herd of flyers rushing to their gates or the closest option their gate had for alcohol.
It was our brave soldiers of the Great American Colonies from the ’70s that bravely protected JFK at its most vulnerable hour in order to ensure that it would remain exactly as it was. Free from running on time. Free from becoming an efficient hub of international travel. Free from having a Shake Shack in every terminal.
This is why, to this day, we remember The Battle at John F. Kennedy International Airport by making sure the British Airways terminal permanently remains under construction.
Because America will never be under construction from the British, ever again. God Bless the JFK Airport.
Read an interview with Lauren Tousignant about writing this piece over on our Patreon page.