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Charles Meredith: Finishing Leonardo’s Horse

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Dear Friends,
 
Good morning. The Republican acceptance of Donald Trump’s candidacy for president is over. In 61 days, we go to the polls either to fire Donald Trump or hire Joe Biden as president.
 
Former Republican Congressman Jim Greenwood published a lengthy letter urging everyone to vote for Biden, the Democrat.
 
“Greenwood, a self-described ‘Never Trumper,’ said he helped set in motion a recruitment effort that began months ago and culminated with endorsements for former Vice President Joe Biden by 27 former Republican members of Congress; three GOP state senators and 24 Republican state representatives from 18 states,” the Inquirer reported Aug. 25.
 
“Former Congressman Charlie Dent, another Trump critic who now is a CNN commentator, said the president’s public embrace of a Republican congressional candidate who subscribes to the ‘Q Anon’ conspiracy theory motivated him to endorse Biden,” the Inquirer continued.
 
Over 100 members of former U.S. Sen. John McCain’s team will vote for Biden. Further, Politico wrote that the alumni of former President George W. Bush 43’s staff and Mitt Romney would do likewise.
 
Noticeably absent from the list of Republican congressman endorsing Biden was Bucks County’s Brian Fitzpatrick. Brian Fitzpatrick’s district has more registered Democrats than Republicans. And recent polls show that Donald Trump is not popular. That combination could spell disaster for Fitzpatrick.
 
When I saw that former Republican Congressman Charlie Dent was allying himself with Jim Greenwood, I wasn’t surprised. Charlie Dent and Michael Fitzpatrick, Brian’s brother, arrived in Congress the same year. Both of them were cut from the same cloth as Greenwood.
 
Let me segway to another story about Charles Dent but this is not the congressman; it’s his older uncle, the former United Airlines pilot, Charles Dent, who died of Lou Gehrig’s disease at age 77.
This Charles Dent, as a pilot, saved the lives of his passengers and crew when he successfully crash-landed his airliner because its landing gear had failed.
 
It was this Charles Dent who’d made it possible for Leonardo da Vinci’s Horse statue to become a reality, 500 years after its creation.
 
In 1482, at the age of 30, Leonardo da Vinci created the horse out of clay … 24 feet tall, 28 feet long and 8 feet wide. Alas, before he could cast it into metal, French invaders used the horse as target practice for their archers. Five hundred years later, pilot Charles Dent discovered the story on National Geographic. Dent was so captivated that he decided to finish Leonardo’s Horse.
 
It took 16 years and $6 million to complete the job.
 
Twenty years ago, our friend Perkasie lawyer J. Lawrence (Larry) Grim, his companion Kathleen O’Dea, Ellie and Dawson Penniman, plus Mighty Betsy and I traveled to Vinci, Italy to celebrate the unveiling of a 12-foot-tall statue of Leonardo da Vinci’s Horse. Allentown Mayor Bill Heydt and Allentown Councilman David Bausch (former Quakertown Hospital administrator), joined us on the trip. It was just four days after the 9/11 tragedy at the World Trade Center in New York.
 
Charles Dent had made the unveiling possible by creating a foundation, which raised tons of money. He produced two horses of the same dimension as Leonardo’s plus two smaller versions … one now at the Allentown Art Museum at 46 N. 5th St., and the other in Vinci, Italy. The two large horses (each weighing 15 tons) are at the race track in Milan, Italy, and the other is in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Larry and I actually stood underneath the Horse in Milan.
 
I searched the Internet for Leonardo da Vinci. He was the illegitimate son of Ser Piero. Apparently, in 13th century Italy, your birthplace became your last name … such as Charlie da Quakertown or Larry da Perkasie. Among Leonardo’s famous creations are the “Mona Lisa” (1503) and “The Last Supper” (1498). He died at age 67.
 
That’s enough information for today, eh?

Sincerely, Charles Meredith

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