I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country.
These words, or something very like them, were spoken by Nathan Hale on September 22, 1776, shortly before being hanged by the British for espionage shortly after the Battle of Long Island. Memorial Day is a good time to contemplate the heart and mind of a young patriot who faced death with courage and dignity, knowing that the cause he lived for was also worth dying for - that of freedom in a free country.
It's a pity that Labor Day -- America's three-day weekend at the other end of summer -- celebrates completely the opposite: bondage, theft, and organized crime in an oppression state where political will is enforced with violence and freedom of speech is just a memory. But that's a topic for another day.
Except it's not.
[much of the following detail here is from Wikipedia and an essay by Circian]
In 1773, Nathan Hale was a tall young charismatic man with prospects, already Yale-educated and working as a school teacher in his home state of Connecticut. But he increasingly felt the call to arms, and a number of his closest friends had already joined the Continental Army, as tensions in Massachusetts degenerated to open hostilities. In 1774 he joined a local militia in New London. In 1775 he accepted a commission in the Continental Army and was shortly deployed to the Siege of Boston.
During all this time the large scale events were moving: the Boston Massacre in 1770; The Boston Tea Party in 1773; Lexington & Concord and Bunker Hill in 1775. It was already open war in New England, and Patrick Henry's "Give me liberty or give me death" speech in Virginia in 1775 signified that the rest of the Colonies were getting on board. By the time the Declaration of Independence was signed, the writings of John Adams indicates that many people for a decade or more had referred to America as "my country" and to themselves as "patriots".
There is no specific record of Hale seeing combat. In the spring of 1776, General George Washington reorganized the Continental Army, and Hale was promoted to Captain in Washington's command in New York City, where they prepared for the inevitable British invasion, which came in August. He was by then in charge of one of four elite units formed by Washington called New England Rangers, responsible for forward recon. There is a persistent rumor that he led a night-time supply raid on a British sloop.
In Early September Long Island had fallen, and Washington, was desperate for information on where exactly the British intended to land on Manhattan. Unwilling to rely on paid informers, he pressed his subordinates for a volunteer to go back to Long Island and report on British troop movements and plans. That volunteer ended up being Captain Nathan Hale. He left on September 8, dressed as a civilian with a cover story that he was a school teacher looking for work.
Espionage at that time was considered a scandalous and contemptible business, though both sides used it extensively (as did probably every combatant in every war in history). Other war crimes like mutiny and desertion were punishable by firing squad. Hangings were reserved primarily for spies and traitors. If the Americans had been able to get their hands on Benedict Arnold, he would have been hanged.
Nathan Hale knew this, yet accounts of his captors indicate that since he was ordered to go on a spy mission, he therefore considered it honorable work done in service to his General and to his country. British Lt Robert MacKensie wrote in his diary that day:
He behaved with great composure and resolution, saying he thought it the duty of every good Officer, to obey any orders given him by his Commander-in-Chief; and desired the Spectators to be at all times prepared to meet death in whatever shape it might appear.
The rest you know. Hale's mission was unsuccessful. The British invaded Manhattan before he was able to report back. With the British occupying southern Manhattan and Washington's forces digging in in the north, Hale followed the British to Manhattan. We can only presume that he decided to gain what useful intelligence he could there before returning to General Washington. He was caught on September 21, 1776, with damning information on him. He was summarily executed the next morning, at age 21. Even consigned to a form of execution reserved for the most dishonorable, he impressed his executioners and witnesses with his honor and his composure. He was nevertheless buried in an unmarked grave whose location is lost to history.
One must remember, "his country" wasn't looking all that sharp at the time. In spite of soaring patriotic rhetoric like "live free or die", "don't tread on me", "give me liberty of give me death", and the Declaration of Independence, American forces were ragtag, undersupplied, undertrained, and getting pummeled by well-trained, battle-hardened British troops on every front.
Neverthless, he gave his all, the last full measure of devotion to his country, and to the cause of America's freedom.
This generation's patriots
My generation very frequently looks down on the young adults in their 20's. They're spoiled, petulant, incompetent, adicted to video games and pop culture, and spectacularly stupid. And yet from among them has sprung, inexplicably, another Greatest Generation to rival the first one. Every American that has enlisted in the military since September 11, 2001, has done so knowing that they were putting their lives in danger in the service of their country. Courage, honor, patriotism, can we even tally up the sum of what is in their hearts?
Indeed, in Operations Iraqi Freedom (Iraq) and Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan), as of this writing 5461 have died in service to their country. Certainly in a huge number of these deaths, they suffered horribly and did not immediately die. Nobody is kidding anybody here. And young men and women continue to enlist. Barack, the commander-in-chief, apologizes to terrorists and totalitarian dictatorships. Many lives have been lost due to politically correct changes in the ROE (rules of engagement). And our young ones enlist. The New York Times prints national security secrets that cost American lives, and Democrats on the floor of the House and Senate despicably accuse them of war crimes. And our young ones enlist. The war trudges on, with a commander-in-chief who holds up reinforcements for many months, and has already announced a premature pullout. And our young men and women enlist.
They die. They suffer divorces. They have their votes discounted by Democrats. Their peers and classmates are idiots. And yet these young men and women enlist.
I am humbled by these courageous patriots. Truly, Nathan Hale would have been greatly honored to serve alongside them. I know that.
While our brave soldiers fight and die for American freedoms, the Left is bent on taking them away. The unions are their front line, and other than the American leftist media, there is no greater force arrayed against American freedom in the world. American, you better take this to heart. What the Democrats and Barack's administration have done in 16 months to take away your freedom is breath-taking. After wrecking a teetering economy, they've taken over 1/6 of the economy; they've made union labor for all government contracts a done deal; they're engineering the union infestation of all businesses, which is to say the end of any profit-making business anywhere; most importantly they are working diligently to silence you.
That sounds alarmist. It is not. Look at the kinds of people Barack has on his cabinet, and on his list of 'czars'. It is a rogues gallery of union hacks, communists, race husters, and America-haters. Look what he has done to the NRLB. Look at how they used every dirty trick to jam so-called 'health care' down the throats of an unwilling public. Look at how they took over the finance and auto industries. They shoved aside rightful creditors and gave ownership to themselves and to the unions. Look at how the justice department buried an investigation of voter intimidation by club-wielding New Black Panthers at a voting site, but then the same justice department wants to sue Arizona for trying to protect borders that Barack won't protect.
They're trying to institute "net neutrality" so they can silence right-side blogging. They're trying to get "fairness doctrine" done so they can silence Rush Limbaugh and all talk radio. They've shut down oil drilling. They're trying to get "cap and trade" instituted so they can regulate and tax the energy business to the point that we'll be back in horses and buggies. They're going for "card check" so they can intimidate unwilling employees into signing the card that unionized their business. Command and control. Shut up. Go broke. Die early.
They have no interest in consent of the governed. They only want to control the governed and plunder the wealth of the greatest nation the world has ever seen, a nation forged by the likes of Nathan Hale and built on the divine right of personal liberty.
This election on November 2 is Armageddon. The Left knows it. They've seen how angry the public is. They've seen the Brown, McDonnell, and Christie victories in blue strongholds. You need to vote, and you need to make sure everybody you know (who is not a Democrat) votes. If we do not win big, then what you see in 16 months will be nothing compared to what comes in the next 2 years.
This is the place where we stop them. And let me tell you something. They do not want to be stopped. They're gonna fight hard and dirty. You saw what happened with the SEIU union thugs (Purple People Beaters) when Americans simply wanted to engage their congressmen last August. This fall they will be intimidating. They will be slashing tires and keying cars that have pro-Republican bumper stickers. They will be vandalizing houses and businesses that have pro-Republican campaign signs. They will be calling you a racist. They will try everything possible to silence you.
They are outnumbered and they know it, so they will put an unprecedented effort into GOTV ("get out the vote") efforts, including dead people and illegal aliens. Organizing is what they do well (well that, along with intimidating, cheating, and stealing).
Since it is now de facto legal to stand outside a voting place with clubs, expect all kinds of electoral shenanigans when they know the Attorney General will do nothing even in the face of blatant evidence.
And if they don't lose big, and are allowed to continue their agenda unabated for 2 more years, we will never have Republicans in power, ever again. We will lose this republic. We will become Europe.
How much does your liberty mean to you?
History has now come full circle. The war for freedom is today. This week. This year. It will be costly for you to stand up for America's long-held values of personal liberty and representative government. You may be injured, lose your property, and you might even die. One hopes it won't come to that, but don't amuse yourself thinking it can't happen.
So decide now, like Nathan Hale did before he began his mission. Do you believe in liberty enough to die for it? Or will you shut up? Will you refuse to put a political bumper sticker on your car lest it get keyed? Will you even vote? If there's a couple of guys out in front of the polling place with clubs, will you actually run video, or will you allow that to stand?
If it costs you your life, are you willing to pay that, for America and for freedom? Because that question might come up sooner than you think.