Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story

In the moment of his death, Alexander Hamilton took time to stop for once in his life, to completely pause and think. He considered what would happen if he died. Who would tell his story and what would his name mean? Having achieved so much in his lifetime and running out of time, Hamilton chose to throw his shot into the sky and take Aaron Burr's bullet, which killed him.

Hamilton lived a difficult life. As a poor immigrant with a burning desire to succeed, Hamilton studied and formulated his policies and worked his way up to being Washington's right-hand man. He clashed with Burr, Jefferson, Madison, and so many other politicians, but he stuck by his word. He made personal mistakes: he had an affair, and his marriage to Eliza nearly went up in flames as a result. He let his son Philip die fighting a duel on his behalf. And then he let Burr shoot him in a dramatic duel.

Yet his legacy lives on. Not just because of what he wrote (and he certainly wrote a LOT about his political and personal lives), but because of the people who knew every part of him. It was Burr and Eliza and Angelica and Jefferson and Madison and so many more who told Hamilton's story. And it's Lin-Manuel Miranda doing it now. It's so important that we have our eyes on history, both so that we do not repeat our mistakes and so that we remember greatness and glory.

As my great-grandfather told my dad and my dad told me, all you have when you die is your name and your reputation. You can't control who tells your story, but you can control the person you are and make a good game for yourself. Hamilton, with all of his successes and faults, made an unforgettable name for himself. He influenced public policy by being a true self-starter, the first secretary of the treasury and so much more. He influenced the lives of the people around him and died having done so much as time drained around him.

Lin-Manuel Miranda didn't portray Hamilton as a perfect being, but he portrayed him as one whose story is worth telling. When I die (hopefully not for a long while!), I wish for the same... to have such an impact on the world and on the lives of the people around me that they'll tell my story when I'm gone.

Thank you, Lin-Manuel Miranda for your creation, which has inspired me and millions of other Americans to live lives and tell stories worthy of being told.

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