As a kid, our tradition was to go to the range today.
Because what better way to celebrate our independence day than by shooting guns?
Just like those upstart colonial farmers did when they picked up their rifles and went to work. And by ‘went to work’ I mean defeated the greatest military force in the world.
Because they were. At the time, the British owned so much real estate that the sun never set on their empire. In the previous 100 year’s they’d smoke checked the Spanish and French. They ruled the high seas. They had vast resources and funds at their disposal.
Until April 19th, 1775… when the main body of the Massachusetts militia led by Captain John Parker intercepted British troops in Lexington on the way to confiscate colonial weaponry and uttered the famous words, “Stand your ground. Don’t fire unless fired upon, but if they mean to have a war, let it begin here.”
And thus, the bloodied birth of the greatest nation to ever exist began.
And it IS the greatest nation. The entirety of the history of human civilization has been one of misery, suffering, oppression, slavery, tyranny, dictatorship. The many governed by the powerful and ruthless few . Kind of what these collectivists (communists/socialists/’ists’) want for us now.
Then a group of selfless men banded together, with the intent on creating something that had never been tried before. The many governing themselves. A Republic.
NOT a Democracy. Any politician who says the word Democracy doesn’t deserve to be in office..
Both a Democracy and a Republic elect people to represent and protect their interests. However, in a Democracy, the majority rules. The 51 govern the 49 without constraint or cares for the 49 wishes. So, whenever a politician says we have a Democracy, what they are saying is that those with power rule those without. The minority has no rights. In a Republic, laws are made under the constraints of a constitution which protects the rights of the minority. As in, the power of the majority is limited. Certain rights are deemed ‘”inalienable” and thus cannot be touched by anyone, regardless of whom is in power.
When America was created, there were literally no words in existent for ‘ruled by the people’. The terms Democracy and Republic did not exist.
That’s how rebellious our countries founders were.
And they paid a heavy price.
Of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, they paid a steep price. But not a single one backed down.
Five were captured, tortured, and executed
Twelve had their homes ransacked and torched.
Two lost sons in battle.
Two others had their sons captured and imprisoned.
Nine fought and died.
More than a few died penniless after having spent their entire wealth/career/business helping the war efforts.
They pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor. And upheld that pledge throughout 8 years of war.
So, we owe it to our founding fathers, and the tens of thousands of subjects who rebelled, to have a great day today.
John Adam’s even says so!
“I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.”
And please remember, if you leave apple pie for Captain America tonight he will leave presents under your flag!
(Conversationally, if you leave bullets out for the Punisher, he will leave bodies in the trunk of your car. Semper Fi, buddy.)
Today, there are two speeches worth recalling. The first, is President Thomas Whitemore, 1996. The second, is Patrick Henry’s ‘Give me Liberty’ speech, 1775. 221 years apart… both epic in their own right.
President Thomas Whitemore:
“Good morning. In less than an hour, aircraft from here will join others from around the world. And you will be launching the largest aerial battle in the history of mankind. “Mankind.” That word should have new meaning for all of us today. We can’t be consumed by our petty differences anymore. We will be united in our common interests. Perhaps it’s fate that today is the Fourth of July, and you will once again be fighting for our freedom… Not from tyranny, oppression, or persecution… but from annihilation. We are fighting for our right to live. To exist. And should we win the day, the Fourth of July will no longer be known as an American holiday, but as the day the world declared in one voice: “We will not go quietly into the night!” We will not vanish without a fight! We’re going to live on! We’re going to survive! Today we celebrate our Independence Day!”
(That’s from the movie Independence Day. 😛 )
Patrick Henry: (This is my favorite speech of all time and I bolded the end because it’s so awesome.)
“No man thinks more highly than I do of the patriotism, as well as abilities, of the very worthy gentlemen who have just addressed the House. But different men often see the same subject in different lights; and, therefore, I hope it will not be thought disrespectful to those gentlemen if, entertaining as I do, opinions of a character very opposite to theirs, I shall speak forth my sentiments freely, and without reserve. This is no time for ceremony. The question before the House is one of awful moment to this country. For my own part, I consider it as nothing less than a question of freedom or slavery; and in proportion to the magnitude of the subject ought to be the freedom of the debate. It is only in this way that we can hope to arrive at truth, and fulfil the great responsibility which we hold to God and our country. Should I keep back my opinions at such a time, through fear of giving offence, I should consider myself as guilty of treason towards my country, and of an act of disloyalty toward the majesty of heaven, which I revere above all earthly kings.
Mr. President, it is natural to man to indulge in the illusions of hope. We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth, and listen to the song of that siren till she transforms us into beasts. Is this the part of wise men, engaged in a great and arduous struggle for liberty? Are we disposed to be of the number of those who, having eyes, see not, and, having ears, hear not, the things which so nearly concern their temporal salvation? For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it may cost, I am willing to know the whole truth; to know the worst, and to provide for it.
I have but one lamp by which my feet are guided; and that is the lamp of experience. I know of no way of judging of the future but by the past. And judging by the past, I wish to know what there has been in the conduct of the British ministry for the last ten years, to justify those hopes with which gentlemen have been pleased to solace themselves, and the House? Is it that insidious smile with which our petition has been lately received? Trust it not, sir; it will prove a snare to your feet. Suffer not yourselves to be betrayed with a kiss. Ask yourselves how this gracious reception of our petition comports with these war-like preparations which cover our waters and darken our land. Are fleets and armies necessary to a work of love and reconciliation? Have we shown ourselves so unwilling to be reconciled, that force must be called in to win back our love? Let us not deceive ourselves, sir. These are the implements of war and subjugation; the last arguments to which kings resort. I ask, gentlemen, sir, what means this martial array, if its purpose be not to force us to submission? Can gentlemen assign any other possible motive for it? Has Great Britain any enemy, in this quarter of the world, to call for all this accumulation of navies and armies? No, sir, she has none. They are meant for us; they can be meant for no other. They are sent over to bind and rivet upon us those chains which the British ministry have been so long forging. And what have we to oppose to them? Shall we try argument? Sir, we have been trying that for the last ten years. Have we anything new to offer upon the subject? Nothing. We have held the subject up in every light of which it is capable; but it has been all in vain. Shall we resort to entreaty and humble supplication? What terms shall we find which have not been already exhausted? Let us not, I beseech you, sir, deceive ourselves. Sir, we have done everything that could be done, to avert the storm which is now coming on. We have petitioned; we have remonstrated; we have supplicated; we have prostrated ourselves before the throne, and have implored its interposition to arrest the tyrannical hands of the ministry and Parliament. Our petitions have been slighted; our remonstrances have produced additional violence and insult; our supplications have been disregarded; and we have been spurned, with contempt, from the foot of the throne. In vain, after these things, may we indulge the fond hope of peace and reconciliation. There is no longer any room for hope. If we wish to be free if we mean to preserve inviolate those inestimable privileges for which we have been so long contending if we mean not basely to abandon the noble struggle in which we have been so long engaged, and which we have pledged ourselves never to abandon until the glorious object of our contest shall be obtained, we must fight! I repeat it, sir, we must fight! An appeal to arms and to the God of Hosts is all that is left us!
They tell us, sir, that we are weak; unable to cope with so formidable an adversary. But when shall we be stronger? Will it be the next week, or the next year? Will it be when we are totally disarmed, and when a British guard shall be stationed in every house? Shall we gather strength by irresolution and inaction? Shall we acquire the means of effectual resistance, by lying supinely on our backs, and hugging the delusive phantom of hope, until our enemies shall have bound us hand and foot? Sir, we are not weak if we make a proper use of those means which the God of nature hath placed in our power. Three millions of people, armed in the holy cause of liberty, and in such a country as that which we possess, are invincible by any force which our enemy can send against us. Besides, sir, we shall not fight our battles alone. There is a just God who presides over the destinies of nations; and who will raise up friends to fight our battles for us. The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave. Besides, sir, we have no election. If we were base enough to desire it, it is now too late to retire from the contest. There is no retreat but in submission and slavery! Our chains are forged! Their clanking may be heard on the plains of Boston! The war is inevitable²and let it come! I repeat it, sir, let it come.
It is in vain, sir, to extenuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace²but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!”
Happy Treason Day ungrateful colonials!