Gettysburg, Independence Day, 1863 (Photo/History Channel)
“Liberty cannot be preserved without a general knowledge among the people, who have a right…and a desire to know; but besides this, they have a right, an indisputable, unalienable, indefeasible, divine right to that most dreaded and envied kind of knowledge, I mean of the characters and conduct of their rulers.”
— John Adams
If I may borrow phraseology from Bill Paxton, today we celebrate our Independence Day. The freedom that we so casually barter away for a false sense of security, for a libertine lifestyle under the benevolent gaze of Big Brother, for the release from our personal responsibilities, was paid for in part by the men in that iconic picture...plain dirt farmers, immigrants from Germany, Ireland and the dregs of the northern cities, all too poor to buy their way out of the great bloodletting, who gave their last full measure of devotion on a field in Pennsylvania 150 years ago.
Family history tells me that my ancestors, who had not all shed the "Mac" in front of "Bane," were not at Gettysburg. Instead, they marched under St. Andrew's Cross with the Army of Tennessee to Georgia and the great failing battles against Sherman, retreating on foot, often barefoot, through the early winter back to Tennessee to give their last full measure of devotion against the fortified Union positions south of Nashville, in Franklin, in the bloodiest 4 hours of a bloody war.
So many installments paid...so many battlefields in so many countries...so many mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers in mourning...and yet...
...what difference does it make? Five words that may come to define our era.
What difference does it make? That, my friends, is what we as Americans — as the people who carry the DNA of the Founder's dream — must decide.
The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people, it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government."
— Patrick Henry
Today we celebrate our Independence Day.