Saturday, January 26, 2008

The Price They Paid

The photo shows Marine Corps Veterans from the past writing post cards to Marines in the fight in Iraq and Afghanistan today.

I had been looking for the following for some time and accidently came across it. Funny how when you aren't looking for something, you find it. It really drives home the sacrifices of our nation's founders. I think Americans forget our what went on in our past in order for our democratic country to exist. I also think other nations forget about how difficult it is to forge a democratic government from a dictatorship or totalitarian regime. They expect democracy to happen overnight - - and when it doesn't, they view it as a failure of the United States, specifically.

I wonder, how many of our presidential candidates could live up to the signers of the Declaration of Independence? How many would be willing to give up what these men and their families gave up?

The Price They Paid

Have you ever wondered what happened to the 56 men who signed the Declaration of Independence?

Five signers were captured by the British as traitors, and tortured before they died. Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned. Two lost their sons in the Revolutionalry Army, another had two sons captured. Nine of th56 fought and died from wounds or the hardships of the Revolutionary War.

They signed and they pledged their lives, their forutnes, and their sacred honor.

What kind of men were they? Twenty-four were lawyers and jurists. Eleven were merchants, nine were farmers and large plantation owners, men of means, well-educated. But they signed the Declaration of Independence knowing full well that the penalty would be death if they were captured.

Carter Braxton of Virginia, a wealthy planter and trader, saw his ships swept from the seas by the British navy. He sold his home and properties to pay his debts, and died in rags.
Thomas McKearn was so hounded by the British that he was forced to move his family almost constantly. He served in the Congress without pay, and his family was kept in hiding. His possessions were taken from him and poverty was his reward.

Vandals or soldiers or both, looted the properties of Ellery, Cymer, Hall, Walton, Gwinnett, Hewyard, Ruttledge, and Middleton.

At the Battle of Yorktown, Thomas Nelson, Jr., noted that the British General Cornwallis had taken over the Nelson home for his headquarters. The owner quietly urged General George Washington to open fire. The home was destroyed, and Nelson died bankrupt.
Francis Lewis had his home and properties destroyed. The enemy jailed his wife, and she died within a few months.

John Hart was driven from his wife's bedside as she was dying. Their 13 children fled for thier lives. His fields and his grist mill were laid waste. For more than a year he lived in forests and caves, returning home to find his wife dead and his children vanished. A few weeks later he died from exhaustion and a broken heart.

Norris and Livingston suffered similar fates.

Such were the stories and sacrifices of the American Revolution. These were not wild-eyed, rabble-rousing ruffians. They were soft-spoken men of means and education. They had security, but they valued liberty more. Standing tall, straight and unwavering, they pledged:

"For the support of this declaration with a firm reliance on the protection of the Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor."

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