The Harlem Hellfighters
How many patriots have eternally sacrificed their right to vote so that millions of Americans can cast their ballots for tyranny?
“Contemplate the mangled bodies of your countrymen, and then say, ‘What should be the reward of such sacrifices?’ … If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude than the animating contest of freedom, go from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands, which feed you. May your chains sit lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen!” —Samuel Adams (1777)
It is no small irony that our nation’s quadrennial and midterm elections occur just ahead of our national Veterans Day observance.
I note the irony of proximity to election days because of the enduring battle between Right and Left, Liberty and tyranny, and the statist objectives of the socialist Democrat Party under the current regime and its legions of “useful idiots.”
So, as the dust settles on the latest midterm election, and the reality that millions of low-info Demo voters wasted the hard-won freedom to vote by casting ballots to further empower domestic tyranny, let us remind them who provided that freedom.
Let us remind them that almost one million American Patriots have given their lives for the freedom to vote, and yes, even the freedom to defile that priceless legacy by voting for leftist enemies of Liberty.
Let us remind them that America’s Founders bequeathed to us, in the words of Benjamin Franklin, “a republic … if [we] can keep it.” And to keep it, we must collectively understand for whom and what we are voting. As John Adams wrote, “Liberty cannot be preserved without a general knowledge among the people.” And as Samuel Adams put it, a citizen’s vote is “one of the most solemn trusts in human society for which he is accountable to God and his country.”
A further irony: Today is the anniversary of the 9 November 1989 fall of the Berlin Wall, which preceded the collapse of the communist Soviet Union and its reign of global tyranny and terror. I was in the belly of the Soviet beast more than a few times in my early career, and I know firsthand the consequences of socialist tyranny. The Berlin Wall, like the rest of the Soviet Bloc border, served the purpose of keeping people IN, not out. As I have thoroughly documented, today’s Democratic Socialism, like yesterday’s National Socialism, is nothing more than Marxist Socialism repackaged.
It is remarkable that now, largely because of the failure of our state-run educational institutions to teach genuine American history and civics — the core courses of citizenship — most Millennials say they would vote for a socialist candidate, and fully a third say they approve of communism.
Almost five decades ago, Ronald Reagan observed, “If fascism ever comes to America, it will come in the name of liberalism.” Over that last three decades, it has metastasized into a mass political and cultural malignancy.
Today, more than ever, we must stand firm in defense of Liberty.
In observance of the upcoming Veterans Day, there is one particular group of veterans who captured my attention and respect this year — the Harlem Hellfighters. Before getting to that remarkable group of warriors, consider the context in which we honor them and all other vets.
We set aside Veterans Day to honor the noble service of generations of Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, Coasties, and Guardians making up the ranks of more than 41 million veterans who have served our nation since the American Revolution. They have valiantly carried forward the banner of Liberty since the first shots were fired at Lexington and Concord.
Millions of American Patriots have, for generations, honored their sacred oaths “to support and defend” the American Liberty “endowed by their Creator” as the unalienable Rights of Man — the rights of all people, affirmed in our Declaration of Independence and enshrined in our Republic’s Constitution. They committed to extend the blessings of Liberty to future generations, and in doing so they endured tens of thousands of accounts of heroic actions that, at their core, speak to who we are as a nation. Many of those accounts could only be told by survivors because those most directly involved did not return.
Last year marked the 100th anniversary of the 11 November 1921 establishment of the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery. On Friday, we will honor all veterans on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, a date commemorating the cessation of World War I hostilities in 1918.
And it was in World War I that the Harlem Hellfighters, the 369th Infantry Regiment from the Harlem section of New York, rose to fame.
In 1917, at the height of WWI, the U.S. passed the Selective Service Act, which required all men ages 21 to 30, including black men, to register for the draft. But the 369th had its origin much earlier as New York’s 15th Regiment, formed in 1864, notably to quell rebellions in New York by those rioting against the Civil War draft. It was redesignated the 369th in early 1918 when assigned to fight with the French. Despite the segregation and discrimination that the unit experienced in New York, it was accepted as an equally qualified regiment by the French, whose forces included many non-white colonial units.
The unit served 191 days in trench warfare combat, the longest combat deployment of any American unit, and suffered heavy losses in the American drive in the Meuse-Argonne in September of 1918, six weeks before the 11-11-11 Armistice.
Among the most celebrated of the Hellfighters was PVT Henry “Black Death” Johnson, who suffered more than 20 injuries while refusing to give ground against the Germans. He was the first American to receive the French Croix de Guerre for gallantry and would posthumously be awarded the Medal of Honor. (You can read his citation here.)
The 369th Infantry Regiment was the first New York unit to return home and the first unit to march from Washington Square Park Arch up Fifth Avenue to their Harlem armory. They anticipated that their service would alleviate some of the discrimination they suffered in New York and across the nation, and it certainly demonstrated that these men were as capable of valiant service as any men in uniform.
We salute the Hellfighters and their families, and all generations of veterans before and since.
At one point in their lives, every veteran wrote a blank check made payable to “The People of the United States of America,” for an amount up to and including their life.
To genuinely demonstrate our gratitude to military veterans and those still serving — our fellow American Patriots who have and continue to defend Liberty — here is my suggestion: Strive to be, first and foremost, an American citizen worthy of their sacrifice.
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Semper Vigilans Fortis Paratus et Fidelis
Pro Deo et Libertate — 1776
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