I guess most of you have heard the one about the Texan and Paul Revere.

But, as I usually say when I start to tell an old joke:

"Now if you've heard this one before, try and stop me."

A Texan was talking to a New Englander and going on and on about the great heroes of Texas: Davy Crockett, Sam Houston, John Travis and on and on.

The New Englander said, "You know, Texans aren't the only ones who had heroes. We had some up east, too!"

The Texan asked, "Like who?"

"Well," the New Englander replied, "There was Paul Revere."

"Who?" the Texan asked. Then he suddenly remembered the name.

"Oh. You mean the guy who ran for help."

Actually Paul Revere was the messenger of the Revolution in more ways than his somewhat overblown ride. We all know he was a silversmith, but being a silversmith required him to be an artist. Sam Adams got him to make the first famous propaganda painting of the "Boston Massacre."

The "embattled farmers" who fought the British would not have been there if messengers had not gotten to them. Revere's ride was not particularly dangerous when he made it, but it was an act of treason from the British point of view. He could have gotten hanged for it later, and hanging in those days was not scientific. It was an awful way to die.

In wartime, before radios, a messenger had just as good a chance of getting killed as any soldier at the front.

You who carry the message today know the risk and the cost and the effort associated with it. You also know that, like messengers of the past, you will get little credit for your efforts and risks. The general who issues the orders gets credit. The brave troops who stand at the front get credit.

But if the messenger gets caught and shot, just how often will that show up in the history books?

All I read is items like, "The general sent out four messengers, but only one made it."

Spreading ideas is absolutely critical. But about all the credit you will ever get for it is to be the one who "didn't make it" or "the one who made it," no name attached.

Like the messengers in earlier days, you are not in it to get your name attached. You use my ideas because it is what you can do for the cause, and the cause cannot live without it.

That frustrating talk you have with your neighbor is as critical to this war as any heroic public statement or the open demonstrations those hundreds of private talks will eventually lead to.

The message is getting out because you are the messenger.