On April 19, 1775, 237 years ago, our Revolutionary War began just outside of Lexington, Massachusetts. Patriot’s Day, 19 April [officially observed on Monday, April 16, 2012], is usually forgotten, seldom recognized, and no longer considered to be a historically important topic of education in our taxpayer-funded schools.
Ralph Waldo Emerson immortalized the Battle of Lexington and Concord,
By the rude bridge that arched the flood,
Their flag to April’s breeze unfurl’d,
Here once the embattled farmers stood
And fired the shot heard ’round the world.
Our Founding Fathers and the colonists who supported the concept of Liberty and freedom from Great Britain had the courage to stand up to the greatest military power of the time. It was a long and dangerous road to our Declaration of Independence of July 4, 1776, the surrender of Lieutenant General Lord Cornwallis on October 19, 1781, the Treaty of Paris in 1783, and the ratification of our Constitution on September 17, 1787.
We were given, as Benjamin Franklin eloquently stated, “A Republic, if you can keep it.” Even then, our Founding Fathers realized the dangers and challenges our nation would face from enemies both foreign and domestic. They realized that future tyrants and traitors would challenge our Liberty both from within and without and that no man could ever be fully trusted.
"Contemplate the mangled bodies of your countrymen, and then say, 'What should be the reward of such sacrifices?' Bid us and our posterity bow the knee, supplicate the friendship, and plough, and sow, and reap, to glut the avarice of the men who have let loose on us the dogs of war to riot in our blood and hunt us from the face of the earth? If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude than the animating contest of freedom, go from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains sit lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen!" Samuel Adams
"Our obligations to our country never cease but with our lives." John Adams (letter to Benjamin Rush, 18 April 1808)
These are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of his country; but he that stands it NOW deserves the love and thanks of man and woman." Thomas Paine
"Patriotism itself is a necessary link in the golden chains of our affections and virtue." Stephen Decatur
"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!" Patrick Henry
"The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure." Thomas Jefferson
"Today, we need a nation of Minutemen, citizens who are not only prepared to take arms, but citizens who regard the preservation of freedom as the basic purpose of their daily life and who are willing to consciously work and sacrifice for that freedom." John F. Kennedy
“More than 200 years after the patriots fired that first shot heard 'round the world, one revolutionary idea still burns in the hearts of men and women everywhere: A society where man is not beholden to government; government is beholden to man. Ronald Reagan
Our limited government under the control of “We the People” is rapidly being taken away. It is up to us to hold firm and to retake and restore our Constitution. As John Adams admonished us,
“Posterity! You will never know how much it cost the present Generation to preserve your Freedom! I hope you will make good Use of it. If you do not, I shall repent in Heaven that I ever took half the Pains to preserve it.”