Monday, June 28, 2010
My Country, ‘Tis of Thee, Sweet Land of Liberty!
Samuel F. Smith wrote, “My country, ‘tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing; Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrims’ pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring!”
Our freedom was a God-given gift given to those who so valiantly fought for this liberty. These brave patriots hungered for freedom of choice, for their rights, and to worship according to the dictates of their own heart. The patriots fought with every fiber of strength they had, both bond and free. Many were barefoot and in tattered clothes; some were deathly sick and hadn’t had a decent meal for months. They were weary and hungry but yet they still fought for what they believed in. The patriots knew the value of freedom and were willing to pay the price. Many of these brave men were even willing to die for freedom.
Nathan Hale, a 23-year-old artist and schoolteacher, felt the conviction of his beliefs so strongly that he agreed to go on a dangerous mission for George Washington. He was caught with sketches of British gun emplacements and the penalty for being a spy was to be hanged. As he marched up the steps of the gallows, he was proud to be an American and held his head high. When he turned to face the people before him, he declared boldly, “I regret that I have but one life to give for my country.”
Have we ever thought about the tremendous price these men paid for our freedom? Thomas Jefferson described what the patriots were fighting for as he wrote: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”
These men were willing to fight for unalienable rights, for their liberty, for their family, for peace and equality. The Continental Army consisted of farmers and merchants, untrained for battle. With feet wrapped with cloth for protection and poorly dressed, the patriots crossed the Delaware in a blizzard. They were outnumbered but George Washington knew this was the right choice, knowing the enemy would be weary after the Christmas festivities.
Undaunted, General Washington took his army across the Delaware. In the early hours of the morning, the surprise attack was a never-forgotten battle of victory that stunned the Hessians and British alike. Afterwards, a count was taken and not one patriot was killed. This great battle turned the war around. After eight long years, the patriots finally gained their liberty.
Samuel Smith wrote, “My country, ‘tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing; Land where my father’s died, land of the pilgrims’ pride, from every mountainside let freedom ring! Our fathers’ God, to thee, author of liberty, to thee we sing; Long may our land be bright with freedom’s holy light. Protect us by thy might, Great God, our King!” What does freedom mean to you?