This Modern Age

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Elegant Freedom

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My wife loves Laura Ingalls Wilder.  My girls (4 and 5 years old) get a strong dose of Mrs. Wilder everyday and I pray that it sticks in their souls.

In Little Town on the Prarie Laura offers the following observation about freedom on the Fourth of July: 

…Laura stood stock still. Suddenly she had a completely new thought.  The Declaration and the song (My Country, ’tis of Thee) came together in her mind, and she thought: God is America’s king.

She thought: Americans won’t obey any king on earth.  Americans are free.  That means they have to obey their own consciences.  No king bosses Pa; he has to boss himself.  Why (she thought), when I am a little older, Pa and Ma will stop telling me what to do, and there isn’t anyone else who has a right to give me orders.  I will have to make myself be good.

Her whole mind seemed to lighten up by that thought.  This is what it means to be free.  It means, you have to be good. ‘Our father’s God, author of liberty-‘ The laws of Nature and of Nature’s God endow you with a right to life and liberty.  Then you have to keep the laws of God, for God’s law is the only thing that gives you a right to be free.

Laura had no time to think any further….

 

Carrie, Laura, Grace

The Ingalls Family: Seated from left: Ma (Caroline), Pa (Charles), Mary, Standing from left: Carrie, Laura, Grace

Written by thismodernage

July 29, 2008 at 3:08 am

What Is the Fourth of July?

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I want to share one of my favorite readings on the founding of our country.  It was offered and originally delivered by Rush Limbaugh, Jr. – father of current talk radio host Rush Limbaugh, III (Congrads on the new contract!). 

These men knew what they risked. The penalty for treason was death by hanging. And remember: a great British fleet was already at anchor in New York Harbor.

They were sober men. There were no dreamy-eyed intellectuals or draft card burners here. They were far from hot-eyed fanatics, yammering for an explosion.

They simply asked for the status quo. It was change they resisted. It was equality with the mother country they desired. It was taxation with representation they sought. They were all conservatives, yet they rebelled.

It was principle, not property, that had brought these men to Philadelphia. Two of them became presidents of the United States. Seven of them became state governors. One died in office as vice president of the United States. Several would go on to be U.S. Senators….

Of those 56 who signed the Declaration of Independence, nine died of wounds or hardships during the war. Five were captured and imprisoned, in each case with brutal treatment. Several lost wives, sons or entire families. One lost his 13 children. Two wives were brutally treated. All were at one time or another the victims of manhunts and driven from their homes.

Twelve signers had their homes completely burned.

Seventeen lost everything they owned. Yet not one defected or went back on his pledged word. Their honor, and the nation they sacrificed so much to create is still intact.

And, finally, there is the New Jersey Signer, Abraham Clark.

He gave two sons to the officer corps in the Revolutionary Army. They were captured and sent to that infamous British prison hulk afloat in New York Harbor known as the hell ship “Jersey,” where 11,000 American captives were to die. The younger Clarks were treated with a special brutality because of their father.

One was put in solitary and given no food. With the end almost in sight with the war almost won, no one could have blamed Abraham Clark for acceding to the British request when they offered him his sons’ lives if he would recant and come out for the King and Parliament. The utter despair in this man’s heart, the anguish in his very soul, must reach out to each and one of us down through 200 years with the answer: “No.”

For the complete speech, click here or here.

Happy Fourth of July!