Behind the Victory Flagpole – The Orator


How many people remember that Patrick Henry High School’s annual, which comes out every year at graduation time, is named “The Orator.” That name refers to Patrick Henry, himself, who was a great orator. The dedication for that name was back in 1941 in the Patrick Henry High School auditorium. Two different students spoke at that dedication but their names were never recorded.

The first young man said this, “Today the world has many voices–voices that express hate, suspicion and intrigue. The more frequently these voices speak, the more potent they become. In the days of the country’s infancy, Patrick Henry, a young Virginian, uttered the words that were later to achieve immortality. This phrase, ‘As for me, give me liberty or give me death,’ expresses the ideals upon which our great democracy was established.

We, the students of Patrick Henry High School, can well follow the example set by our illustrious namesake; it is fitting that we should speak out through the pages of this annual with a voice of knowledge, of freedom and of understanding, to combat the forces of intolerance, greed and fear.”

The second speaker said, “It is well in these times of strife and curtailment of human privileges that we should think of a man who was the foremost advocate of liberty and justice in his time. The man who did more than any other to arouse a love of democratic government and free thought in the thoughts of men; this man was Patrick Henry. He was truly ‘the spirit that made those heroes dare to die and set their children free.’ So to this great exponent of freedom and the basic rights of man we respectfully dedicate The Orator of 1941.”

Remember, these were the beginning days of WWII and everyone was looking for a role model to emulate. These words were taken from the first annual of Henry High School in 1941, The Orator.