I am sorry this got up so late but I got in the middle of my own celebration and forgot to wish you all a Happy Independence Day. it’s special here in New England, the birthplace of the fight for that independence. Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and yes Connecticut all played key roles in the fight that was to last years.
I am sure, it must have seemed to those who inhabited this ground 200 years ago, that the war (1775-1783) would never end. And yes, the war was almost lost on numerous occasions. That is why General Washington and his men embody what it means to be uniquely American. When others saw defeat, he only saw victory, and somehow he managed to convince a bunch of frozen, bootless, tired men to reenlist right there on the spot, cross the Delaware into a British occupied New Jersey and bring the attack to the British. Amazing. We owe General Washington much, and the men, probably against their better judgement, who re-upped.
Massachusetts gave us John and Sam Adams (the latter one of my heroes), and the young men who gave their lives when the war was still in is infancy at Bunker Hill.
Connecticut gave us Nathan Hale, and Benedict Arnold, who, before he decided the war was lost, was a key General in the fight for freedom, including the capture of Fort Ticonderoga in 1775.
But Rhode Island, which has celebrated July 4th since 1785, New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine (which was home to America’s first albeit, unofficial NAVY, using pirates and privateers), all have their revolutionary war heroes.
On this day, bow your head, for just a moment. Some very wealthy men, and many poor, but their lives and fortunes on the line for liberty, my liberty, your liberty. Young 15 year old boys died so that we, 200 years later, could live in freedom.
No, it is not faith that makes us American, as the President suggests. What makes Americans American is that unique spirit that lives deep within us … a spirit of liberty and individual freedom, and a willingness to fight to preserve it for us and future generations. A determination and strength to defend and protect all who call themselves American and all who will call themselves American from all tyranny, within and without our borders.
Today is the day to remember the patriots, the people who knew they could and would never give in to that tyranny, even a benevolent tyranny like Britain,