A true story of initiative and responsibility, the piece went on to be printed more than 40 million times. The version here was produced in after the material had significant publishing success — it includes an introduction by the author and some additional and inspiring closing thoughts. Check out InspireYourPeople. Download and print the free "Be Like Rowan" booklet — includes Hubbard's essay, as well as worksheets and reminders.
Download and print awards to hand out to team members who show Rowan-like initiative. Read and print our kids' version of "A Message to Garcia" — includes illustrations and discussion questions to help your kids understand the importance of working hard and taking initiative.
An Outdated Message to Garcia: Why Hubbard’s Essay Needs to be Shelved for Good
The United States must get word to the commander of the Cuban guerrilla force that his cooperation was needed and the U. But how would President McKinley get the message to the elusive guerrilla commander somewhere in the jungles of Cuba. While voicing his dilemma, Colonel Arthur Wagner, head of the Bureau of Military Intelligence said he knew of a young, resourceful Army officer by the name of Lieutenant Andrew Summers Rowan who was capable of the mission.
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And this fictional account was born of the pen by Elbert Hubbard on February 22, Secretary of State. On May 26, President McKinley and his cabinet made the decision to send sixteen thousand American solders to fight the Spanish. These troops landed near Santiago June , Even though the unit was initially under the command of Dr. Leonard Wood, it was Roosevelt who called for volunteers and it was to him they came. Wood was promoted, the regiment then came under full command of Roosevelt. The Rough Riders experienced their first combat on June 24th.
Getting the Real Message to Garcia
Then, on July 1st Roosevelt and his Rough Riders had reached a series of fortified hills, beyond which lay the objective, the city of Santiago. When they arrived, they were immediately behind the front line of troops, but close enough that bullets were finding their mark.
He waited impatiently for his orders and finally they arrived. Waving his revolver, Roosevelt personally led the charge up San Juan Hill, routing the enemy. However, the enemy had fled to the next hill and with the artillery and rifle fire from the second hill, Teddy and his Rough Riders were extremely exposed and vulnerable — no time to hesitate. Unable to cross a defensive line of barbed wire, Roosevelt leaped from his horse, and on-foot, charged toward the second hill.
He had not gone far before he realized he had only five men behind him. Cursing, he returned to the first hill and discovered most of his men had not heard his orders.
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This time, as he again charged the second hill, all his troops were behind him and followed, hollering with wild battle cries. The sight totally unnerved the Spanish and the battle ended quickly.
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Of the Rough Riders, eighty-nine had been hit and miraculously, Roosevelt had escaped injury. During the war with Spain, national sentiment ran high and a word was often used within this context — jingoism.
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To disseminate his instructions, he recorded them on wax records in a gramophone and sent them out on fifteen telephone lines. Corresponding written messages were sent out on twenty telegraph lines, all of which emanated from the War Room.
It was short and only lasted about days, from April to August. It freed Cuba from Spanish occupation and had many other outcomes.
It was a time of high national emotion and heroic acts. Over 40 million copies have been printed and it has become a classic, and is still available for purchase today. Was the story real?