Veterans Day has different meanings for many different reasons. It is a day set aside by Congress wishing to remember and honor the men and women who have fought and died for the United States of America. It is a day for those who have sacrificed a lot in life to reflect on why they chose to serve. It is especially meaningful to the families of those who made the ultimate sacrifice, where their loved one gave their life for their country.
Unfortunately, many today would not understand the words of one of America’s Founding Fathers, Nathan Hale; when he said: ‘I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country”. However, this I believe is understood by those who have proudly and honorably served in the United States Military. I suspect that you might have a difficult time finding a Veteran, even today in 2019, who would not echo the words of Nathan Hale.
To take you back to where this all started. Just imagine, it is November 10, 1775, The Second Continental Congress is in session, and it is eight months before the Declaration of Independence is proclaimed on July 4, 1776.
In the smoke filled, dark and noisy interiors of a local tavern and brewery in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where you might see the likes of George Washington, Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson, the newly created Marine Corps sets up the Corps’ first “recruitment station”.
Two American Marine Corps Captains, newly appointed by the Continental Congress; Samuel Nicholas and Robert Mullen (Owner of Tun Tavern) are seeking out able bodied seaman to become the first of hundreds of thousands of Marines to serve, fight and die for their Country for 244 years. The prospective “recruits” were not the highly educated, self-serving, overly self-entitled individuals you see in America today. These were rough and tumble individuals who are formerly shanghaied sailors, farmers, warehouseman, hunters, trappers, frontiersman, and veterans of the French and Indian War. Some mostly likely could not read or write and might only be able to sign their name, or make “their mark” on the enlistment documents.
But, what they did have in common with the “few and the proud” today, was a strong belief in that what they were doing was the right thing to do. Having a belief in someone or something (God or Country) was much greater than themselves was reality. And that belief was worth protecting, fighting, and yes, maybe even die for. It was an unquestionable reality that was the right thing for them, their family, their neighbors, and their fellow Americans.
I have said in the past that words and history matter when considering the present and future direction we as Americans take.
While it is fiction based on historical fact, I suggest all Americans view the movie “The Patriot” starring Mel Gibson. The movie gives historical relevance to such current issues as: nationalism, race, religion, political bias, and gun rights. If only for two hours, place yourself in the shoes of Mel Gibson’s character. What would you do if you were he?