American Liberty — At What Price?
A few photographic reflections on the sacrifice of millions who have sustained the Liberty we enjoy.
“I am well aware of the Toil and Blood and Treasure, that it will cost us to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States. Yet through all the gloom I can see the rays of ravishing Light and Glory. I can see that the end is more than worth all the means…” —John Adams (1776)
Yesterday, we observed the 241st celebration of American Liberty.
On the evening of July 4th, it is our extended family’s tradition to gather at a vantage point overlooking Chattanooga, Tennessee, from the top of Lookout Mountain facing Missionary Ridge — both are historic battle sites in the War Between the States, and the former is one of the final skirmish locations of the Revolutionary War.
Once dusk settled to dark, the valley came alive with fireworks — from backyard displays to thunderous mortar shows sponsored by local patriotic organizations. It is a remarkable spectacle, but for me, equal to the visual impact are the roaring reports echoing across the basin, sounding much like artillery has for generations.
It is as it should be!
Indeed, the day before the signing of the Declaration, John Adams wrote to his wife, Abigail: “I am apt to believe that [the signing of the Declaration] will be celebrated, by succeeding generations, as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shews, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires and illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this time forward forever more. You will think me transported with Enthusiasm but I am not. I am well aware of the Toil and Blood and Treasure, that it will cost Us to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States. Yet through all the Gloom I can see the Rays of ravishing Light and Glory. I can see that the End is more than worth all the Means. And that Posterity will tryumph in that Days Transaction, even altho We should rue it, which I trust in God We shall not.”
Before leaving for our family gathering to view the “bonfires and illuminations,” I took pause for an additional “solemn act of devotion” to contemplate what it is we celebrate, was well as the extraordinary price in blood and treasure it has cost “to Support and Defend” the legacy of American Liberty bequeathed to us by our Founders and generations since.
Every year in advance of Independence Day, we ask your support for The Patriot Post, noting that “freedom isn’t free.” I know well the cost of freedom, which too many Americans take for granted.
To contemplate the enormity of that cost, I reviewed an extensive file of photographic images reflecting the true price of Liberty and have included a few of those for you to contemplate and share.
Beforehand, however, allow me to mention something else extraordinary about July 4th, which occurred 50 years to the day after the signing of the Declaration of Independence.
You know the story — two men instrumental in both defining and declaring Liberty as an “unalienable right,” Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, died on the same day. It is my sense that these Founders were both holding out, refusing to take their last breath until the 50th anniversary of our young nation’s independence.
But Adams’ last words were, “Thank God, Jefferson lives!” He took some solace in believing Jefferson would survive him, and Liberty would be safe for another day.
Liberty will only be secure if we remain steadfast in our commitment to make it so everyday! It is my life’s mission, and that of your Patriot team, to extend Liberty to the next generation, to ensure it is preserved, protected and defended well into the future. We are honored to stand with you in that commitment!
Semper Vigilans Fortis Paratus et Fidelis
Publisher of The Patriot Post
Pro Deo et Libertate — 1776