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IS THE SPIRIT OF ’76 STILL ALIVE IN AMERICA?
by John F. Sweeney
(Jul. 1, 2010) — In 2001, the U.S. felt the horror of militant Islamic terrorists whose goal was to terrify and paralyze the people of the United States and the world. As time has shown, they failed in their effort.
But now, almost nine years later, we find uncertainty that seems to attack our sense of purpose as a nation. We are involved in two theaters of military operations that take their toll on American soldiers almost every day, with possibly a third theater on the horizon; our economy struggles mightily; our government enacts laws counter to the wishes of the majority of its citizens on a regular basis; and we have the largest environmental disaster creeping ever closer our shores. As the saying goes: if you are not concerned, you are not paying attention.
But let’s not allow our concerns turn into fear, and let’s not forget our unique role in this world. The United States has always had and will always have its struggles. It will always sacrifice for what is right. And it will falter at times, but it will right itself. With all the challenges facing this nation, now is the time to remind ourselves and our children of the unique role of this nation. It is the beacon of the world. It may appear that many of our national leaders have forgotten this, but we must not forget why this nation is blessed, why we must never give up and why we will not fail.
I wrote this in the fall of 2001, shortly after the terrorist attacks:
So this is what you think Jihad is? Killing, murdering. For what? You don’t even know. Is it for rewards in the afterlife? Is it to establish a radical fundamentalist Islamic world?
Jihad is not a war but a struggle; at least that’s what we have been told. If that is the case, then maybe we can explain to you why your destruction is now certain. It is because as Americans we too have a Jihad.
Since 1776 we have had a Jihad, although we do not use that term. It is called the defense of the Constitution of the United States. This document and its ideals established a representative republican form of government which provides freedom and liberty to Americans. It also provides the entire world with an example of how a government “of the people, by the people and for the people'” can work. It wasn’t supposed to work. Some of the framers thought that this form of government was too fragile and doubted it would survive for long.
Democracies had a history of being very short-lived. However, our country has survived because, up until now, it has been a republic, not a democracy in which the people vote for so much largesse from the government that it implodes. It has survived a civil war, two world wars, scandals and abuses of power at the highest levels. It did not survive because Americans took the easy path. The Constitution of the United States has survived because of America’s fight to protect the gift given to us in 1776. Our struggle is not only for ourselves but for the world, although it goes quiet from time to time. It was very quiet on September 10, but awakened on September 11.
In our struggle, our sons, fathers, mothers, daughters, brothers and sisters have died all over the world. In some cases, it was while fighting those who openly declared their desire to destroy the United States and its Constitution, and in other cases, it was to stop those who threatened the most cherished ideals of our formation: the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Now I say to the Jihadists that as your destruction comes closer, you may want to understand why your Jihad is failing and why ours is never-ending. Over 100 years ago, an American president stated that “a government of the people, by the people and for the people shall not perish from this earth.”
President Bush made it clear that “we will not fail.” You may think this statement was only applied to your destruction. What he meant is broader than that. It is that we will not fail to persevere when challenged and we will not fail to be the beacon of freedom and hope for the world.
This is our Jihad.
So in 2010 we have our struggles, militarily, environmentally, economically and politically. It is times like these when the ideals that gave us our country and its all-important Constitution may not seem important. But on the contrary, the defense of our Constitution is of the utmost importance right now. Without it and the ideals it embraces, our country and its freedoms will be lost, possibly forever. And the world will have lost its beacon.
Have you ever wondered what happened to the 56 men who signed the Declaration of Independence?
Five signers were captured by the British as traitors, and tortured before they died.
Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned.
Two lost their sons serving in the Revolutionary Army; another had two sons captured.
Nine of the 56 fought and died from wounds or hardships of the Revolutionary War.
They signed and they pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor.
What kind of men were they?
Twenty-four were lawyers and jurists.
Eleven were merchants; nine were farmers and large plantation owners; men of means, well educated, but they signed the Declaration of Independence knowing full well that the penalty would be death if they were captured.
Carter Braxton of Virginia, a wealthy planter and trader, saw his ships swept from the seas by the British Navy. He sold his home and properties to pay his debts, and died in rags.
Thomas McKeam was so hounded by the British that he was forced to move his family almost constantly. He served in the Congress without pay, and his family was kept in hiding. His possessions were taken from him, and poverty was his reward.
Vandals or soldiers looted the properties of Dillery, Hall, Clymer, Walton, Gwinnett, Heyward, Ruttledge, and Middleton.
At the battle of Yorktown, Thomas Nelson, Jr., noted that the British General Cornwallis had taken over the Nelson home for his headquarters. He quietly urged General George Washington to open fire. The home was destroyed, and Nelson died bankrupt.
Francis Lewis had his home and properties destroyed. The enemy jailed his wife, and she died within a few months.
John Hart was driven from his wife’s bedside as she was dying. Their 13 children fled for their lives. His fields and his gristmill were laid to waste. For more than a year he lived in forests and caves, returning home to find his wife dead and his children vanished.
So, take a few minutes while enjoying your 4th of July holiday and silently thank these patriots. It’s not much to ask for the price they paid.
Remember: freedom is never free!
Defending the Constitution is a moral imperative.
Powerful article. Well done, Mr. Sweeney. Thank you for this.
I do not like this Uncle Sam,
I do not like his health care scam.
I do not like these dirty crooks,
or how they lie and cook the books.
I do not like when Congress steals,
I do not like their secret deals.
I do not like this speaker, Nan ,
I do not like this ‘YES WE CAN.’
I do not like this spending spree,
I’m smart, I know that nothing’s free.
I do not like your smug replies,
when I complain about your lies.
I do not like this kind of hope.
I do not like it, nope, nope, nope!
I do not like that pompous dope.
But I like your Suess-inspired poem.
I can tell you from personal experience … these sad days in America people get harassed for standing up in defense of the U.S. Constitution and especially if you bring up the subject of the ARTICLE 2, SECTION 1 violation! The enemies of America, you know the Barack Obama/ACORN people are out there in numbers for the only purpose of harassing Constitutional Conservatives who make postings about Obama being the ILLEGAL unqualified Usurper according to the A2S1 violation! There is a war going on right now and at this stage the war battlefield is in cyberspace, but I’m afraid that as this war is prolonged the battlefield will move out into the streets of America! Why is it so impossible to get every concerned citizen of America organized and mobilized to the necessary point of having a sharp focus on Obama being an ILLEGAL Usurper that needs to be removed from our White House ASAP for the sake of the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA AND ITS PEOPLE!