Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy Birthday, America!

Happy Fourth of July, everyone. Hopefully you're enjoying the day with hot dogs, hamburgers, pool parties, and fireworks.

For the holiday, I wanted to share with you a piece of writing that has always inspired me. It was written by the light of a campfire to boost morale in the Revolutionary War. It was copied and read to American troops at the request of then General George Washington. It succeeded in fueling the cause when soldiers stormed Trenton in a surprise attack on Hessian soldiers, which showed the British America wasn't ready to give up.

It's called the American Crisis, and it was written by Thomas Paine. Here's a snippit:

"These are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of his country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: 'tis dearness only that gives every thing its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed, if so celestial an article as freedom should not be highly rated."

Reading this now, I'm impressed that it can be applied to so many situations, personal and political, even today. Like the best writing, it is universal and timeless.

Also, for my brother-in-law, Michel, who's serving in Iraq, all the men and women who have ever served or are serving in the military, and for my mother who loved this song:

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