"Could I have forseen what I have, and am likely to experience,no consideration upon earth should have induced me to accept this command." (Quote from George Washington's letter to Joseph Reed dated November 28, 1775)
How to get furnished I know not. I have applied to this and neighboring colonies, but with what success time only can tell. The reflection on my situation, and that of this army, produces many an uneasy hour when all around me are wrapped in sleep. Few people know the predicament we are in, on a thousand accounts; fewer still will believe, if any disaster happens to these lines, from what causes it flows. I have often thought how much happier I should have been, if, instead of accepting of a command under such circumstances, I had taken my musket on my shoulder and entered the ranks, or, if I could have justified the measure to posterity and my own conscience, had retired to the back country, and lived in a wigwam. If I shall be able to rise superior to these and many other difficulties, which might be enumerated, I shall most religiously believe, that the finger of Providence is in it, to blind the eyes of our enemies; for surely if we get well through this month, it must be for want of their knowing the disadvantages we labor under.” (Quote from George Washington's letter to Joseph Reed dated January 14, 1776.)
"We must, indeed, all hang together, or most assuredly we shall all hang separately."(Benjamin Franklin, In the Continental Congress just before signing the Declaration of Independence, 1776.)
"These are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly; it is dearness only that gives everything its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as freedom should not be highly rated." (Quote from Tomas Paine's first Crisis papers. Originally published in the Pennsylvania Journal, December 19, 1776.)
"To see men without clothes to cover their nakedness, without blankets to lie on, without shoes, by which their marches might be traced by the blood from their feet, and almost as often without provisions as with them marching through the frost and snow..." (Washington's letter to the President of Congress, written at Valley Forge, December 23, 1777.)
Many thanks to the men and women who did not give up in the face of crisis. I only hope today we are not putting too light a price on our continued freedom.