Amybeth Hale – Research Goddess

Freedom Isn’t Free
July 4, 2007, 5:34 am
Filed under: Uncategorized
As we Americans prepare to celebrate our Independence Day by firing up the grill, setting up our lawn chairs, and lighting our fireworks, let’s take a minute and pause to remember the price that was paid for us to enjoy the incredible freedoms we have today. I ran across an article written by Lt. Col. Jeffery Jones of the United States Air Force in 2006, and I think this is something that every person living in the United States needs understand – that our freedom comes with a price tag.

“I’d like to take the opportunity to remind us all that freedom is not free. On July 4, 1776, 56 men signed a document declaring their views and beliefs on how people should be governed. That day they announced to the world the 13 colonies no longer belonged to Great Britain. July 4, 1776, was the day singled out to mark the event of the United States establishing itself as a nation. This is what we’ll celebrate [Wednesday].

But have you ever wondered what happened to those men who signed our Declaration of Independence? Five were captured by the British, labeled as traitors and tortured before they died. Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned. Two lost their sons serving in the Revolutionary Army, another had two sons captured. Nine of the 56 fought and died from wounds or hardships of the Revolutionary War. They willfully signed and pledged their lives, their fortunes and their honor for freedom.

What kind of men were they? Twenty-four were lawyers, 11 were merchants and nine were farmers and large plantation owners. [Fifty-four were committed Christians, and] The majority were well-educated men of means. Each signed knowing the penalty would be death if they were captured by the British.

Carter Braxton of Virginia, a wealthy planter and trader, saw his ships swept from the seas by the British Navy. He sold his home and properties to pay his debts and died in rags. Thomas McKeam of Delaware was forced to move his family almost constantly. He served in the Congress without pay, and his family was kept in hiding. He eventually lost all his possessions, and poverty was his reward.

Vandals or soldiers looted the Dillery, Hall, Clymer, Walton, Gwinnett, Heyward, Ruttledge and Middleton properties. At the battle of Yorktown, Thomas Nelson Jr. noted British General Cornwallis had taken over the Nelson home for his headquarters. He urged Gen. George Washington to open fire. The home was destroyed, and Nelson died bankrupt.

Francis Lewis had his home and properties destroyed. His wife was jailed. John Hart was driven from his wife’s bedside as she was dying. Their 13 children fled for their lives. For more than a year he lived in forests and caves, returning home to find his wife dead and his children vanished. A few weeks later, he died from exhaustion and a broken heart. Norris and Livingston suffered similar fates.

These are just a few examples of sacrifices endured by some of our nation’s founding fathers. Standing tall, straight and unwavering, they pledged, “For the support of this declaration, with firm reliance on the protection of the divine providence, we mutually pledge to each other, our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.” Many others, less prominent yet just as dedicated to freedom, made sacrifices as well, some the ultimate sacrifice by giving their lives to establish the very foundation from which this great nation has been built. They gave us a free and independent United States of America.

Last Fourth of July (2005), President George W. Bush told an estimated crowd of 3,000 people at West Virginia University that “the revolutionary truths of the Declaration are still at the heart of America.” This rings true this year as well. With our assistance, the Iraqi people recently established the first permanent government since the fall of Saddam Hussein and eliminated Abu Musab Al-Zarquawi, the most recognizable face of Iraq’s violent insurgency and head of Al Qaeda in Iraq. We’re also leading the way in assisting Afghanistan in recovering from a very dark period in their history. Many of our sisters and brothers in uniform have made, and continue to make, great sacrifices in the name of freedom. As of Wednesday, 2,527 Americans have made the ultimate sacrifice in Iraq.

So this Fourth of July holiday, I urge you, if only for a moment, to take the time to think about what Independence Day is really about. Take the time to share the meaning of this holiday with your friends and family. Think about the bold and patriotic actions of our forefathers, the dedication and fortitude they exhibited in order for us to enjoy the liberties we have today. I’d also urge you think about the men and women who aren’t able to enjoy this four-day break, because they’re deployed defending freedom. If you feel so inclined, take few minutes and silently thank these patriots, past and present. I know I will, it’s not much to ask for the price they paid and continue to pay for freedom.”

Today, on the anniversary of our independence, take a moment and remember that all your freedoms and all your opportunities came, and continue to come, from the sacrifices of men and women who paid the ultimate price. Freedom is not free; never take it for granted.

Dedicated to our Founding Fathers and the Men and Women who serve the United States of America in the fight to maintain our Freedom

1 Comment so far
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God bless America and the American Soldier.

Comment by Jim Stroud

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