The fire of heroism has been reduced to a spark in the depths and grainy textures of a long winter night in our world today. Listen to the sad tales of those lost on the hidden paths, but also hear the gleeful laughter of the mad and twisted, their toxic words and venom blistering in its’ intensity.
Their cackling nearly glows with a dark light of its’ own. Their politician teeth flash menacing in the ink black of an age which seems to threaten eternity. But they are the only creatures, which can see in these dim environs, and they are only interested in the pain of others. The rest of us may feel simply lost in the dark, wishing or praying with voices thin and raw, that we will live long enough to see daybreak.
But there are light-bearers.
Sometimes those who bring the light and preserve our freedom are seen as giants. They stride amongst us as great and revered and we all know their names. Those who don’t know these names are missing such great stories and understanding, that they can’t possibly form opinions that make any sense in their lives. If we were to name some of these beacons to our shared history, we might cite Jefferson or Adams or Washington. If we’re a little more steeped in history, we may claim Jones or Barry – and so many others.
But the plain truth actually often comes in plain clothes. The light isn’t held only in the hands of the mighty, but often nurtured and protected and carried by regular people, unknowingly, until its' dim ember is given new life. Most of these regular people stumble through life, just trying to stay breathing from one moment to the next. Their threadbare clothes are the last thing they will ever wear, and the ground beneath the shifting fog around their feet, will be the cold place where they will finally find peace - just a moment and a bullet away.
Revolution must start somewhere. The fire of real hope is born from simple people like Francis Marion, who led a group of “irregulars” which was a living nightmare to their opponent’s the British. Marion was the “Swamp Fox,” arguably the greatest guerilla fighter in the American Revolution. He terrorized the British and ran hit-and-run operations, killing and disappearing like a ghost. To pursue Marion was considered to flirt with certain death. At one point, from an austere island fort he held off fifty warships, crippled the enemy fleet and saved the city of Charleston, achieving the first victory of the war for independence.
His men received nothing – no pay, food or ammunition from the Continental Army, but he fought on. And when victory was declared, Marion and his men were not asked to join the celebration their clothes were far to ragged and they weren't considered presentable. But plain truth, even wrapped in tattered clothes, is so very bright, indeed.
Or there’s the perfect light of Deborah Samson, who disguised herself as a man for three years in order to fight during the American Revolution. She fought hand-to-hand and was wounded twice, once by a sword-stroke to the side of her head . When she recovered, she was asked to deliver a letter to General George Washington, and she knew the letter's contents meant her secret had been discovered and her days as a soldier were over. Shaking and nervous, she was called in to see Washington - but In order to spare her embarrassment, the General said nothing, instead he quietly handed her a discharge, a note and enough money to get her home. After the war, Washington invited her to visit. During her stay she was the subject of a special bill in Congress, granting her a pension, land and acknowledgement as a Revolutionary Soldier. She shined so brightly.
Then there is a lonely statue on the Boston Common. Probably unnoticed and uncommented in the same glowing language of the great Founders of our nation, there is Crispus Attucks, an African former slave and dock worker, who fought no famous battles, but instead, was simply one of the biggest men in an angry crowd on a Monday evening in March 1770. After a British soldier injured a young boy, Attucks stepped forward to defend the child, and was one of eleven civilians shot. He fell in the snow in front of the Custom House on King Street, one of five who died in the Boston Massacre, the event which possibly touched off the inescapable – revolution. Attucks was called “the first to defy – and the first to die.” But his light shone so bright, the ideas of independence blasted outward from that moment, changing things yet again - even by the shine of his pooled blood on that snow-covered street.
And Attucks was far from the last – he was joined by nearly 26,000 other people – patriots all, and many never remembered and never known, though they each carried a spark of light which together lit a fire in the night like no other.
That fire has led so many others to the shores of our nation. And those flames would be fed by more sacrifice – at least 1,315,329 fellow Americans in as many as 29 wars and conflicts throughout our history since the Revolutionary War. But the spark hasn’t been carried by the military alone. We have seen great civilian sacrifice – even within our lifetime, and we can all contribute our own spark in endless ways and in an unending march into history, as long as we care enough and as long as we want to see our children live in beauty, strength and dignity.
There are light bearers – and they eternally carry the fire of determination for so many others. The source of that light is all of us.
It is the same fire held aloft by a famous sculpture, portraying a woman escaping the chains of tyranny, which lie at her feet. That sculpture has been given the very name the flames she holds, represents…Liberty.
And we, who live here beyond her light, live in the greatest country in the world. We are, like Marion and Samson and Attucks, all Americans – and our country is the United States.
And we are united by Freedom.
Want to know how to fight right now? Want to bring about another American Revolution? Get behind Scott Brown, who is running for the Senate in Massachusetts, for a start. Brown is fighting for a chance to turn back the tide of darkness - a government which no longer listens to the people. Brown's election can change everything. See the articles on Brown on this blog to understand why, or visit his website here.