July 4, 2010 “Give me Liberty…”
July 4, 2010 “Give me Liberty…”
When I began to consider what I would post for 4th of July, the first thing I thought of was the men, the Founding Fathers if you will, who took great risks and pains to gather themselves together in Philadelphia as The Continental Congress to decide the future of this group of colonies. They would be considered traitors and criminals for what they were about to do…say “NO MORE!” to Parliament and to the King of England!
On Thursday, July 4, 1776, fifty-six brave men stepped up and signed The Declaration of Independence. The rest, as they say, is history. Actually, it’s all history, and we should know much more about it than most of us do, but I digress.
Since the space which I occupy here on the internet has been taking a more poetic slant of late, I thought of the following, which I found in a book of poetry long ago. It is one of the greatest speeches ever delivered in American history. It was made on March 23, 1775 in the House of Burgesses in St. John’s Church in Richmond, Virginia by Mr. Patrick Henry to urge the colonies to take up arms against the British Army, which was already gathering in force to quell the revolutionaries. The last two paragraphs of the speech, some of the most eloquent, and yes, poetic words you will ever read, I share with you…
“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 inevitable–and let it come! I repeat it, sir, let it come.
It is in vain, sir, to extenuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace– but 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!”
God Bless America!