Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Freedom is not Actually "Free"

    In 1776 Thomas Paine, an American Revolution patriot and writer, noted the price of freedom: "What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly."
    Today, each Fourth of July is a time to remember those who not only framed our Constitution, but realize the price they paid as individuals. Five of the men were captured by the British, charged as traitors, tortured and executed. Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned. Two of them lost sons in the Revolutionary War. Two more had sons captured. Five of the 56 men who signed the Declaration of Independence fought and died in that war.
    One of the signers, Carlton Braxton, was a wealthy planter and trader. He saw his ships sunk by the British Navy. He had to sell his home and all his possessions to pay off his debts. He died in poverty. The British also descended on the home of John Hart. All of his property was destroyed and his invalid wife was killed. Even though he was 70 years old he joined Washington's army and soon died of physical and emotional exhaustion.
    Lewis Morris was about to sign the Declaration when he received word that the British were at the gates of his home. He was told his property would be spared if he would withhold his signature. He thought only a moment before he said, "There are many homes, but there is only one country." His pen went quickly to the page.
    It is true, the freedom we celebrate was not actually free. It came with a price.

Friendly Visitor, weekly bulletin of the Auburn Church of Christ in Auburn, AL. Date unknown.

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