The Freedoms We Enjoy Are Not Free – The Story of America
The freedoms we enjoy are not free. They have been earned as a result of the unimaginable sacrifices that have been made by so many brave men and women over the years. However, I am sad to admit that I never even knew what the lyrics to the “Star Spangled Banner” were until I was 16 years old. During games I put my hand over my heart and then scoped for girls or thought about beating our opponents while our anthem was performed. So this year, as the 4th of July rolled around, I paused for a moment to reflect upon the tremendous gift of freedom that we have been given by people who were willing to die for something they would never enjoy. As I write these words, I still find it hard to grasp such a concept.
So in honor of all of the men and women who’ve given the ultimate sacrifice, I decided to teach my kids ages 7, 5, and 3 what the 4th of July is all about. So we put in the HIstory Channel’s American History “The History of Us” (episode 2) and watched while we learned. His a summary of what my kids discovered.
The year was 1776, the Commander of the Rebel Army was a man by the name of George Washington (perhaps you are familiar with him). Already victorious in battle once, he successfully pushed the British out of Boston, Massachusetts, but he knew they would be back in full force soon. And sure enough, the British Army returned in “full force.”
With a full navy, the British returned to attack the colonists who were fighting against the British rule and taxation. As word reached the colonies that the British were coming, the leadership decided to hold an emergency session. At the session it was discovered that they would be outnumbered 5 to 1 and yet the decision to fight against the British was still unanimously agreed upon. How many of us would fight in a war against and enemy that outnumbered us 2 to 1, let alone 5 to 1?
On July 4th, 1776 the colonies agreed to ratify a document to acknowledge their shared belief that their rights came from God and not from a King. The colonists signed this great “Declaration of Independence” to do just that. They decided that the time had come for them to declare their INDEPENDENCE. Could it be that these people actually wanted to live without government interference? Could it be that many of today’s Americans are willing to simply give away what these colonists fought for? It seems to me that many of today’s Americans love DEPENDENCE. Many Americans love going to the government for a check, for a job, for assistance, for college funding, for loans, for medical care and for everything they need. Many of today’s Americans crave DEPENDENCE so much that they now actually get their cell phones, their housing and the entire means of survival from the government in exchange for their rights to worship, to control their money and to do as they please. Think about it for a second. Many Americans are happy to give away their right to praise God in exchange for a government job where religious talk is not allowed. Today many Americans are totally willing to let government dictate their values in exchange for free medical care. It seems as though our country has now forced to become 100% pro-choice in the abortion issue in exchange for more government dependence.
However, when these brave souls signed this document, they changed the course of the world’s history. The colonists had now agreed upon something worth fighting for. They were fighting for their freedom. Unlike many of today’s moronic and weak Americans, these people were willing to die for freedom rather than to give all of their freedoms away exchange for complete DEPENDENCE upon the government.
On July 5th 1776, the British began attacking the American colonists with over 32,000 troops and 450 warships. The British came over 3,000 miles across the ocean to make sure that the colonists paid the taxes that the King had unjustly imposed the American colonies. However, the British were fighting for a King, while the Americans were fighting for their lives. Within the first hour of fighting hundreds of canon balls had bombarded New York City. Over 3,000 British troops had now stormed New York. The American colonists retreated along a native American trail which is now called “Broadway Street” as New York was being burned to the ground.
More than 3,000 patriot prisoners of war were put into prison boats of the British. 9 out of the 10 prisoners who were put into British prison ships died. The loss of New York was Washington’s first loss as head of the American rebels. Washington and his men began to regroup and retrain in order to fight in an entirely new way while the British “Red Coats” began marching to meet them on the battlefield. The British were like a mobile city of over 8,000 soldiers. When the British and the American colonists met for battle again, the Americans were ready for them. They now were lead by, Daniel Morgan who was a hard drinker, a brawler and a sharpshooter. Daniel Morgan was a smart guy and tough guy who was ready and willing to lead his 450 sharp-shooters in the Battle. The British were schooled in traditional open field battles, but they were not ready to fight in the woods and the foreign land that Daniel Morgan’s men called home.
Daniel Morgan and his men set up roadblocks by chopping down trees which greatly slowed down the British “Redcoats.” Morgan’s men were armed with American long rifles which allowed them have deadly accuracy from long distances. They could actually hit British men from over 250 yards away. From 250 yards away the American men began assassinating the Native American scouts who were leading the British army. Morgan’s men used speed, and fierce intensity to attack the “Redcoats.” Within one month of battle all of the Native American scouts are dead.
In 1777, New York was now firmly under British control. The patriot sharp shooters now attacked the British army in Saratoga. The American patriots began breaking the rules of warfare in their attempt to beat the British. At the time it was completely unacceptable and “barbaric” for military men to focus on killing the leadership when engaged in a battle. However, the American men who were outnumbered 5 to 1 and who had nothing to lose began targeting and assassinating the British officers as their only viable strategy for survival. 9 out of 10 British officers were killed within a matter of months. This strategy appalled the British army, and destroyed their ability to fight. The British relied heavily officers to lead the way. Their men were simply unavailable to muster up the courage to fight without officers leading the way and motivating them encouragement.
As the winter came, Washington and his men began to set up camp in a place called Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. George Washington lead his men to build homes so that they could survive the winter. They build enough homes for all the men within an incredibly short 2 months of time. 1 house was built to for every 12 men. Nearly 1 out of 5 men did not have shoes on their feet during this winter. Could you imagine fighting a war in the winter without shoes? Nearly 60% of the army was comprised of convicts, immigrants and slaves. Washington was able to convince his men through shear will and motivation to tough it out during the winter. Soon Washington’s army began to experience an epidemic called “small pox.” The “small pox” disease was brought over by the British ships and this disease actually killed 4 out of 10 men that were infected with the disease.
Smallpox began spreading through Washington’s army who was housed in the small houses they had just built. Man after man died quickly. Death caused by disease spread like wild-fire over Washington’s men and it soon became obvious that this disease would kill his men long before the British would. Out of necessity, Washington began to experiment with the concept of inoculation for the first time. He had heard about it, and it was widely believed to be a “quack’s theory” at the time. However, this grand experiment prevented all of this men from dying from this horrible disease. Washington decided to inoculate all of his men. Nearly one of 50 of his men died from the inoculation process, however countless men were saved. If you were like me and had no idea what inoculation was before reading this, this is a process that consists of cutting away the infected and diseased area from a sick dude and intentionally using it to infect another healthy dude. Then the healthy dude’s immune system had to race against the disease to build an immunity to the sickness. If his immune system did it’s job, the healthy dude lived and became immune to the disease. If not, he died. Luckily 49 out of every 50 men survived this process.
During the year of 1778, Washington took in a British outcast named Baron Von Steuben. This man had been kicked out of the British army for being a homosexual, however he was an incredible systems builder and a military trainer. Baron Von Steuben., was able to instill order, discipline and hygiene to the Valley Forge military camp. Baron Von Steuben. wrote a manual on military training that is still in use today. He trained an elite core of 100 men who then trained 100 more men. This system continued until George Washington’s army was incredibly tough, well trained and skilled in the art of killing the bad guys. He trained the men on how to use the baioenette so that they could use their riles as spears during close combat fighting. The men began leaving Valley Forge as a trained elite military killers.
Meanwhile George Washington began out-spying his enemy. Using an elaborate scheme he was able to mislead the British Army. Most people believe today that Washington was unable to lie, however his skill of deception was what allowed him to outwit the “Redcoats.” Washington’s spies began using invisible ink that was only visible if the paper was washed with liquid iron sulfate. Thus, they were free to pass messages with relative ease throughout the colonies despite the presence of the British occupation.
Washington’s system involved the use of using laundry hanging to dry as a way to communicate spy signals. His system used invisible ink. His system involved the use of sending lies and fake secret messages to the British spies. Washington’s men waited 8,000 strong for the British to attack to them. They used deception to mislead the British army and to set them up for the traps that they had waiting for them. Washington’s strategy involved committing to the idea of making the British fight a never-ending war against an army that refused to quit. He realized that eventually their will to fight would die as they fought a war for taxes against an army that was fighting for their lives.
When the time was right, Washington then sent two men to signal the army that it was time to fight. From Yorktown they launched a surprise attack! Under a hail of fire and gunshots the patriot army force of 400 was able to kill the “Redcoats” although they were outnumbered nearly 3 to 1. Immediately after the fighting had ceased, it was clear that nearly 34 American patriots had died, while the British men had been completely devastated. After 6 years of fighting the rebels had now done something that no other country had every done. The U.S. patriots were able to win independence from the British occupiers. Nearly 25,000 men died in this great fight for independence. 25,000 people fought so that today we would have the rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
These brave people fought so that we could declare our INDEPENDENCE. Let’s not give our independence away in exchange for some handouts, some food stamps, government cell phones and a student loan. Sure we’ve got 25,000 problems, but the threat of losing our independence shouldn’t be one.