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
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.