“THE PRICE THEY PAID”
by Dr. Thomas E. Davis, Colonel, USA (Ret), ©2016
The play’s director, Miss Babette Milspaugh, our English teacher, speaking quietly but insistently, said, “Quiet! The Japanese have attacked Pearl Harbor; many of our ships have been sunk and hundreds of military personnel have been killed!” The gloom, the dismay and the shock of the moment were palpable. Even today, that single memory sends a tingling feeling down my spine. Not out of fear as much as “What now?”
The next morning, we listened to President Roosevelt’s speech that began with these memorable words, “Mr. Vice President, Mr. Speaker, members of the Senate and the House of Representatives:
Yesterday, December 7th, 1941 – a date which will live in infamy – the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.”
Roosevelt closed with this very proper but ominous request, “I ask that the Congress declare that since the unprovoked and dastardly attack by Japan on Sunday, December 7th, 1941, a state of war has existed between the United States and the Japanese Empire.”
This treachery, not totally unexpected, occurred just 20 years and 28 days following the signing of the armistice ending World War I. Another one of those, “Well, here we go again” moments. During those intervening 20 years and 28 days, a few monsters had reared their ugly heads: Adolph Hitler, Benito Mussolini, Hideki Tojo, Josef Stalin and other Dictator wannabes.
Did this obvious warning of impending evil stimulate or excite American, British, Canadian, German or French citizens to take steps to prevent another world war? Even given all the warning signs, ‘apathy’ reigned supreme. Just because you do not want disaster to occur is no assurance that it will not. Neville Chamberlain, an experienced diplomat and the Prime Minister of Great Britain in the late 1930s, tried to use “appeasement” to halt Hitler’s foreseeable “war of conquest” and following a meeting with Hitler at which “He signed the Munich Agreement in 1938, relinquishing a region of Czechoslovakia to the Nazis” and stating absurdly, “Peace in Our Time!”
Citizens of all the nations mentioned above, except for Czechoslovakia, were apathetic, believing the situation would not affect THEM! They were crucially and mortally WRONG! The Hitler-Chamberlain Munich agreement was signed on September 30, 1938; the rest of the world was apathetically joyous until World War II began when Germany (Hitler), without provocation, bombed Warsaw, and the world was awakened to such horrors as had never been inflicted on humanity since the great Flood of Biblical times. Over 60 million died, a major portion due to APATHY! APATHY! and more APATHY!
Remember that old adage; all adages are old; “If YOU are not part of the SOLUTION, you are part of the PROBLEM!”
So, besides you and your apathy, your, “I just want to enjoy my life, my grandkids, my great-grandkids, my place at the shore, my place in Hawaii, my shore place, my retirement, my old age or what other ‘My’ you can come up with,” great! You have the right to that but, along with YOUR right, there come obligations. Our founding parents in the late 1770s, shortly after the British ‘Redcoats’ of King George III were defeated on April 19, 1775 in the battles at Lexington and Concord, Massachusetts made a solemn pledge. “Lives, … Fortunes and … sacred Honor.”
THE PRICE THEY PAID
Have you ever wondered what happened to the 56 men who signed the Declaration of Independence? What fates befell them for daring to put their names to that document?
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. A few weeks later, he died from exhaustion and a broken heart.
Norris and Livingston suffered similar fates.
Such were the stories and sacrifices of the American Revolution. These were not wild-eyed, rabble-rousing ruffians. They were soft-spoken men of means and education. They had security, but they valued liberty more.
Standing talk [sic] straight, and unwavering, they pledged: “For the support of this declaration, with firm reliance on the protection of the divine providence, we mutually pledge to each other, our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.”
They gave you and me a free and independent America. The history books never told you a lot about what happened in the Revolutionary War. We didn’t fight just the British. We were British subjects at that time and we fought our own government!
Some of us take these liberties so much for granted, but we shouldn’t.
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!
I hope you will show your support by please sending this to as many people as you can. It’s time we get the word out that patriotism is NOT a sin, and the Fourth of July has more to it than beer, picnics, and baseball games.
Origins: In the waning years of their lengthy lives, former presidents (and Founding Fathers) John Adams and Thomas Jefferson reconciled the political differences that had separated them for many years and carried on a voluminous correspondence. One of the purposes behind their exchange of letters was to set the record straight regarding the events of the American Revolution, for as author Joseph J. Ellis noted, they (particularly Adams, whom history would not treat nearly as kindly as Jefferson) were keenly aware of the “distinction between history as experienced and history as remembered”
Let us NOT forget that most exemplary of men, Haym Salomon, the Jewish Banker who nearly singlehandedly financed the War of Revolution. Here is just one example: In August 1781, the Continental Army had trapped Lieutenant General Charles Cornwallis in the Virginian coastal town of Yorktown. George Washington and the main army and Count de Rochambeau with his French army decided to march from the Hudson Highlands to Yorktown and deliver the final blow. But Washington’s war chest was completely empty, as was that of Congress. Without food, uniforms and supplies, Washington’s troops were close to mutiny. Washington determined that he needed at least $20,000 to finance the campaign. When Morris told him there were no funds and no credit available, Washington gave him a simple but eloquent order: “Send for Haym Salomon”. Salomon raised $20,000, through the sale of bills of exchange, and Washington conducted the Yorktown campaign, which proved to be the final battle of the Revolution.
The U.S. Postal Service issued a stamp hailing Salomon as a “Financial Hero of the American Revolution.” A monument to Salomon, George Washington and Robert Morris graces East Wacker Drive in Chicago and Beverly Hills, California, is home to an organization called the American Jewish Patriots and Friends of Haym Salomon. However, Salomon’s life was not all triumph. A successful financier in the early 1780s, he died in 1785 leaving a wife and four young children with debts larger than his estate. When his son petitioned Congress to recover money he claimed his father was owed by the government, various committees refused to recognize the family’s claims. In 1936, Congress did vote to erect a monument to Salomon in the District of Columbia, but funds for the actual construction were never appropriated.
Are we, Americans all destined to suffer the final indignity foretold by General Cornwallis when he surrendered at Yorktown: “Your churches will be used to teach the Jew’s religion and in less than two hundred years the whole nation will be working for divine world government. That government that they believe to be divine will be the British Empire. All religions will be permeated with Judaism without even being noticed by the masses, and they will all be under the invisible all-seeing eye of the Grand Architect of Freemasonry.”
Today, some 240 years removed from those tumultuous days of our birth as a Constitutional Republic and the hardships of our founders, it is not so different from 1775. We have, in Washington, DC, an illusory government, bound together by the tenuous threads of lies, deception, fecklessness, corruption, bribery, treason and party politics of party loyalty before loyalty to the Constitution and this once mighty Republic. How could this happen, here, in America, the bastion of freedom, graciousness, giving, scholarship, and a thousand other virtues? We have descended into depravity, corruption, homosexuality, gratuitous sex, and acceptance of the murder of the unborn.
Every Jew, every Christian, every Hindu, every Buddhist, every living member of that body known as Humankind is rushing headlong to eternity.
Am I, a living, breathing and grieving Christian, simply a fool with an abstract and unworkable nonsense code of Morality, Trustworthiness, Loyalty, Kindness, Charity, Obedience, Friendliness, Bravery and Reverence. If so, I accept your accusation but refuse to change. Furthermore, I intend to persevere until I have exhausted my best efforts or until My God calls me home. I am so very sorry for your illness and may My God give you one more chance. God Bless America!