Four Commanders that Inspire Prior’s Leadership of RFCP

Last night, the Commander-in-Chief of the RFCP hosted a firework show for his neighbors. The fireworks were not quite legal, so the boom was not quite tame. Clouds of smoke bowled into the audience and thickened the air so heavily that the flash of the fire reflected in the smog and the only thing visible from person-to-person was the whites of each other’s eyes. In this moment, it was easy for Prior to reflect on what it must have been like in the thunder of artillery to wander through the hellfire and catch the rogue eye contact of an ally in the smoke. Loading a cannon. Limping with a hand blown off.

Why is this so easy to connect with?

There is a soldier in us all.

Great generals have inspired Prior in his command of the RFCP. For this blog post, he has narrowed it down to four.

  1. Cyrus the Great of Persia (r. 559-530 BC)

Cyrus II, known as Cyrus the Great, conquered much of the ancient world in the cradle of civilization. He fought in the Battle of Opis against the Babylonians and created the largest empire the world had encountered.

Why does Prior admire him?

Cyrus II respected the identity of those he conquered. It was recorded that after he captured a city, rather than destroying the temple of the local religion, he would kneel down at the conquered altar and pray.

2. Robert E. Lee (1807-1870) [with honorable mention Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson (1824-1863)]

Generals Lee and Jackson commanded Confederate forces in the American Civil War. Both were educated in military excellence at West Point.

Why does Prior admire them?

At the Battle of Cedar Mountain, Union forces charged the left flank of the Confederate line in ninety degree heat. They engaged in bloody hand to hand combat in the surrounding woods and courageously plunged deep into the open fields of Confederate occupation. General Jackson led his brigade to stem the advance of Union troops. He attempted to pull out his saber, but the blade rusted and was stuck to the scabbard. So Jackson raised the sword still in its scabbard, and swung it around, shouting, “Jackson is with you!” His intimacy and front-line camaraderie with his men inspires Prior. As for General Lee…

The following is a firsthand account from a wounded Union soldier after the Battle of Gettysburg.

The last day of the fight I was badly wounded. A ball had shattered my left leg. I lay on the ground not far from Cemetery Ridge, and as General Lee ordered his retreat, he and his officers rode near me. As they came along, I recognized him and, though faint from exposure and loss of blood, I raised up my hands, looked Lee in the face, and shouted as loud as I could, ‘Hurrah for the Union!’

The General heard me, looked, stopped his horse, dismounted and came toward me. I confess that I at first thought he meant to kill me. But as he came up he looked down at me with such a sad expression upon his face that all fear left me, and I wondered what he was about. He extended his hand to me, and grasping mine firmly and looking right into my eyes said, “My son, I hope you will soon be well.”

If I live a thousand years I shall never forget the expression on General Lee’s face. There he was, defeated, retiring from a field that had cost him and his cause almost their last hope, and yet he stopped to say words like those to a wounded soldier of the opposition who had taunted him as he passed by! As soon as the General had left me, I cried myself to sleep there upon the bloody ground.” Marcus J Wright

3. Tsar Alexander II of Russia (r. 1855-1881)

It is likely Tsar Alexander II’s father, Nicholas I, committed suicide after the crushing Russian defeat in the Crimean War. Alexander took command in a tulmultuous empire and pursued radical reforms and expansion into the Caucuses.

Why does Prior admire him?

The tsar survived almost ten assasination attempts on his life. The final attempt blew up his carriage, but he emerged alive once more. The assassin was apprehended and handcuffed. Before the tsar’s guards could usher him away, he said, “No. I want to look into the eyes of the man who tried to kill me and ask him why.” So he staggered through the smoke and looked the assassin in the eye. Before anything could happen, a second bomb went off. This is the bomb that eventually killed him.

4. CollinZFresh (c. 2008)

CollinZFresh was the Autocrat/Leader of the People’s Republic Army on Club Penguin, in which Prior served as Commissar, 2nd in Command.

Why does Prior admire him?

The leadership of Collin inspired Prior in his founding of a new army. Collin was involved with his troops, often holding private councils with Prior in a chat room. He was affectionate when the time was right, and mercilessly tough when discipline was needed. Prior admired the way he could calmly address his soldiers at one moment, and turn around and rebuke a troll commenting on the blog with an authoritative, “You know what? Fuck off” the next.

Many, many years after the PRA disbanded, Prior searched for CollinZFresh in the wastelands of abandoned wordpresses and fathoms of bottomless Internet to reconnect with his old commander. CollinZFresh and Prior Bumble never reunited.

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