Saturday, August 25, 2012

"The Shot Heard 'Round the World"

I like to check out the books at thrift shops, I found a little gem  of a book about George Washington last time I was browsing the racks of used books. It's a smallish, pocket sized book entitled "George Washington and the Mormons" by John J. Stewart and published by Deseret Book Company in 1967. With such an intriguing title and a price tag of $1.00, it immediately made it into my shopping basket. After reading this book, I really gained new knowledge and insight about George Washington and some of the circumstances surrounding events leading up to and including the Revolutionary War. I wanted to share some of what I learned. I have a much greater respect for these men now and am in awe at the greatness and tenacity of the personality of Washington. The job he was called to do was terribly difficult and he stated often in his letters that had he forseen how difficult his command of the fledgling army would be, nothing upon the earth would have induced him to accept that command. But Washington was not a quitter and he believed in the cause enough to become a man 'with a price on his head', and branded as a traitor to Britian. He did not give up in the face of difficulty, he persevered and knew the cause he was engaged in was just, as did the other men and women who stood with him.

"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.

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