Different, But Still the Same
Yesterday was a monumentally important day; not only was it the official birthday of our nation; but deeper than that, it is a celebration of our freedom and our lifestyle. It is our Independence Day, a point in time which makes our society different.
From the landing at Jamestown to the 1776 Continental Congress in Philadelphia, our forefathers, who landed on these shores, typically were not ordinary people – at least in their thoughts. They were different – some came for wealth and fortune; some came seeking religious freedom, and others to serve out sentences of indebtedness.
This new breed of people was hardy and determined. They fended for themselves because supplies were two or three months away – in good weather. Invention became the mother of necessity. They created new innovations and expanded their lives though the desire to make it better in their new country.
The 150 years pre-Revolution were unlike any other time. It was a time where just the right mixture of people from different cultures were willingly placed together to survive and simmer into a new, distinct culture – "Americans."
Since its theatrical release in 2000, I have enjoyed watching the movie The Patriot, starring Mel Gibson, several times. Discounting some of the historical inaccuracies and keeping in mind it is entertainment, not a real life accounting, it is a great story of the trials, decisions and complexities of Revolutionary War times in our country.
The movie follows a man who served his King in the French and Indian Wars. He is a widowed plantation owner, who enjoys his life, is a leader in his community and learned to hate war. He soon finds he cannot be on both sides of the Revolution and has his home and family destroyed by the King and country he formally served. It is this act which causes him to realize the need for independence.
In this film you see the personal struggle with disloyalty to one government in favor of self rule. You see the hardships endured in a war-torn nation. The movie points out the sacrifices made for freedom.
Families lost everything in the name of freedom. Crops were taken, farm animals eaten and families left with nothing to face the winter. Fields of crops were trampled, furniture used for firewood and the houses and barns of sympathizers were burned. Men were killed if suspected of treason.
I wonder how much each of us would sacrifice with today's thought patterns, and the political correctness of our society? Just how much would we suffer for our freedom?
I say... we would make similar sacrifices, once we knew it was "do or die."
Today my fellow Americans don't have to hunt for game or barter for dry goods. Our society is different – the times are different; however, the spirit of determination is still prominent. We take pride in our country, our hometowns and our families; they remain important.
Perhaps the physical work ethic is a bit less, but the ingenuity and entrepreneurship are still basically the same. Invention still reigns in our country as does family – including the broader family known as community.
All levels of our society exhibit a sense of community. The idea that we have some responsibility to our fellow citizen is sort of an inbred desire to protect each other from the outside. This is one reason I believe laws, which give illegal immigrants the same benefits as citizens, are constantly being repealed. It is the inherent protection device within us.
Hopefully the closest we will ever come to conflict on our shores will be petitioning bad laws and politically fighting with each other. If, however, an invader should broach our shores, I believe there will be immense wrath from the American spirit within each of us and sacrifices would be made at "colonial" levels.
Americans are and remain independent and determined, a path which can be traced back to Independence Hall in Philadelphia, where some brave men put it all on the line for us – with a quill pen.