When I grew up in Springfield, Missouri, the Green County Courthouse had a small replica of the Statue of Liberty out in front of it. In the course of learning about local history, I found out that the statue was one of many such replicas dedicated around the country by the Boy Scouts in the 1920s and 30s.
Kind of makes you wonder, why we can’t even do something like that anymore.
Our public memorials rarely have much heft or national scope (the OKC Bombing Memorial a notable exception). Our post office makes itself busy with Disney character stamps and the U.S. Mint inspires few with the collectors’ item dollar coins. (Oooh, I got Martin Van Buren.)
So what do we do then with the gift that we have been given with this project? Still not a month old but with thousands of people filled with passion and possibility.
Here’s my pitch, less than a hour before May 4th, International Star Wars Day, fades into the sunset.
When the word went forth about this project, I was bowled over by the response. My phone’s battery kept dying because my email inbox was filling up. I heard from people and places I never before knew existed.
We have all of those connections. Connections I once thought would enable me to put together build teams and brain trusts.
Now, though, that can’t happen officially. The risk of a full-scale, fully operational AT-AT is not one Lucasfilm is support in any way, especially without a budget and a blueprint.
So instead, I think the next phase of AT-AT For America is to help you connect with each other. And hopefully turn all of those sparks into a ripple around the world.
Honor your country and inspire its people by building what you think best represents what geek culture has done for you. It doesn’t have to be elaborate or 50-feet tall or equipped with lasers.
But it does have to be something. Something that you can touch and feel, stand next to and get your picture taken with, something that will stand for all of this.
We want to be awesome again. So why not AT-AT across America (and Australia, England, New Zealand and whereever that really cranky guy on our Facebook page was from.)
My job will be to connect you.
If it’s OK, I am going to finish up the excel file of all of the people who volunteers, which contains their names, email and states they are located. I’ll post it on Google Docs and make it public.
I urge you not to do this alone. Form teams, make plans, build things.
A 4-foot AT-AT for your local park. A Lego Yoda for your library. A bronze Han Solo in Carbonite for the American Legion Post.
My goal is for us to help each other, to show everyone what can be done. Geek culture has done so much that’s awesome but ephemeral. Wikipedia is an incredible achievement, but it’s not out there in the public to take everyone’s breath away.
Go then, let me help you find each other. Grab some tools and head to the garage.
This is going to be extraordinary.
As always, I welcome your thoughts, feedback and prayer. The email is still hanging out on hotmail: firstname.lastname@example.org