History & Culture / Opinion

We Must Remember That Freedom Isn’t Free

Freedom

This Independence Day, let’s remember that freedom isn’t free. Those that signed the Declaration of Independence knew it, and centuries later, President Ronald Reagan still knew it and warned Americans with these words…

“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.”

Freedom fighter General John Stark shouted, “Tonight the American flag floats over yonder hill or Molly Stark sleeps a widow!” to rally his troops as he headed into battle at Bennington, Vermont, during the Revolutionary War. Molly Stark did not become a widow that night and did what she could, as a mother of ten, for the cause of freedom. She opened her home to nurse patriot soldiers.

General John Stark, years later, wrote a toast for an anniversary reunion of the Battle of Bennington, held July 31, 1809. He became ill just prior to the reunion and was unable to attend, but he sent his toast by letter, which was “Live Free or Die: Death is not the worst of evils.” He is credited with what became New Hampshire’s state motto, “Live Free or Die.”

Those that signed their John Hancock (one literally did!) on the document declaring independence from despotic leadership in July of 1776 knew that their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor were truly at risk. They knew that a vast ocean would not protect them and their families from the wrath of King George of Great Britain, who demanded absolute allegiance.

Richard Stockton, one of the signers from New Jersey, understood the grave danger he put himself and his family in and knew freedom would not be free. He was right. Four months after signing his name on the Declaration of Independence, he was imprisoned.

Stockton had been moving his family to safety because the British were following George Washington and his army into New Jersey after the Battle of Long Island, when a treacherous neighbor of the friend whose home he had moved his family to lead a band of loyalists to Richard Stockton. They dragged Stockton from his bed and marched him improperly clothed (only a nightshirt and breeches) in freezing weather to a common jail in Perth Amboy, New Jersey. Later he was moved to Provost prison in New York City, which was notorious for its harsh conditions. It is estimated that about three times as many prisoners died in the prisons and prison ships of New York City as soldiers in combat during the Revolutionary War years.

After five weeks of being locked in irons and nearly starved, Stockton was released. The condition of his release was that he was not to engage in American affairs during the fight for freedom. His health was compromised to such an extent that it is doubtful he could have contributed much on the battlefield. His home had been plundered of his furniture and livestock. His extensive library had been destroyed. His monetary wealth was also gone as he had donated most of it to the cause. He died before the Revolutionary War ended in 1781 at the age of 51. Richard Stockton is among those we should remember for their bravery and the great sacrifice necessary to attain our freedom.

This Independence Day, and every day, let’s take some time to remember some of those that sacrificed so much for freedom. Let’s heed President Reagan’s warning and teach the next generations the value of individual freedom, so they won’t lose it. Let’s teach them about the brave men and women that knew freedom wasn’t free yet still acted to gain it. Let’s teach them that preserving freedom is not always easy but that once freedom is lost, it is even more difficult to regain.

Happy Independence Day!

Diana Rubio is a freelance writer and author of “Coming to America: A Girl Struggles to Find her Way in a New World.” Read her blog series “Statues: The People They Salute” and visit the Facebook Page.

We hope you've enjoyed this article. While you're here, we have a small favor to ask...

As we look forward to expanding our work in support of America’s Seniors, we're asking you to consider a gift to help the AMAC Foundation continue to grow.

The AMAC Foundation, a 501(c)(3), plays a vital role in developing resources that enrich America's Seniors' lives. From Social Security to Medicare—with a lot in between—our services have helped thousands of Seniors by providing guidance at a time when they need it most.

Your support of our tax-exempt Foundation will enable us to continue delivering programs that meet a growing community's needs and that are vital to their well-being.

Thank you for putting your faith in AMAC!

Donate Now

If You Enjoy Articles Like This - Subscribe to the AMAC Daily Newsletter
and Download the AMAC News App

Sign Up Today Download

If You Enjoy Articles Like This - Subscribe to the AMAC Daily Newsletter!

Sign Up Today
Read more articles by Diana Erbio
Subscribe
Notify of
5 Comments
Newest
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
JOHN
2 months ago

Freedom Is NOT FREE. I live with that fact every day in every breath I take.
I offered my Country nothing less than MY LIFE in defense of her! I witnessed brothers in arms bleed ad die when I was only 19. I had to do my duty regardless of the fear and dread. I did this so just so MATBE no other young person would have to.
I expect NO thanks nor sympathy! It IS my cross to bear all by myself… for MY America. I truly love people especially my fellow Americans. I am not colorblind, I AM color SENSITIVE! i SEE our People “We the People” as Americans! Nothing more… nothing Less. I was THERE and I sometimes, still am…. there.
I love to go to a beach and be in the sun and fresh air. People do NOT know me or what I “mean.”
I see their looks, not unlike someone covered in tattoos. I have very visible scars that are not pretty. I do not mind if someone asks what happened. I simply tell them ..those MY reminders to myself of How Much I love this Nation and our flag!
I do not deal with accolades! I AM NOT any kind of Hero. I expect no thanks from anyone although thanks are humbly appreciated.
I AM A PATRIOT!
I WILL continue to be SO until God summons me!

Bill on the Hill
2 months ago

I will note here on the Battle of Bennington in Vermont… The monument in Bennington represents the fight that was actually engaged in NY. Nathan Hale & the Green Mountain Boys took the fight to the British in NY & to a successful conclusion rather than wait on them in Bennington…
Otherwise a very well written article that I enjoyed very much…
Bill on the Hill,
Vermont, USA… :~)

Bill on the Hill
2 months ago

Correction on my earlier comment: Nathan Hale was NOT a part of the Battle of Bennington…
Hale actually hails from my general neck of the woods in CT, he was born in Coventry, CT & he was a school teacher in East Haddam before becoming a spy for the Continental Army, got caught & hanged for it in NY…A true hero by most accts…Years ago I played pickup basketball at the school named after him in E. Haddam…
Bill on the Hill… :~)

PaulE
2 months ago

Excellent article Diana! Yes, Reagan’s words were indeed prophetic in ways I’m sure he didn’t think would come to pass so soon. We stand literally at a crossroads in what the future of this country will look like. The left has made great strides while most of the public has chosen to ignore the looming threat for decades. We can still turn things around, but time is growing very, very short and the American people have to decide one way or another what they want their future to look like. We know what the left wants our future to look like, but are the rest of us really so apathetic as to simply sit by and allow their vision for the United States to become our reality?

Diana Erbio
2 months ago
Reply to  PaulE

Americans must not take our freedoms for granted. We must insist that our unalienable rights not be infringed, and we must pass on the knowledge about the foundation of our nation to the next generations! I have hope that America will remain free! Happy Independence Day!

5
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x