On Friday, which will be Nov. 11, the United States will celebrate Veterans Day. While many in this country often forget this holiday, you better believe the veterans among us and our soldiers abroad fully understand the importance of this date. The importance of what this holiday symbolizes cannot be over-stated. One day a year is not nearly enough to honor the sacrifice, heroism and honor of those that provide us with, and protect for us, all that we hold dear.
For the first time, I would like to print something today that I did not write. The following is a letter to the editor submitted to the New England Chronicle in 1776 during America's fight for independence from Britain. I found this letter in David McCullough's book 1776. It was submitted anonymously and signed "A Freeman."
Your exertions in the cause of freedom, guided by wisdom and animated by zeal and courage, have gained you the love and confidence of your grateful countrymen; and they look to you, who are experienced veterans, and trust that you will still be the guardians of America. As I have the honor to be an American, and one among the free millions, who are defended by your valor, I would pay the tribute of thanks, and express my gratitude, while I solicit you to continue in your present honorable and important station. I doubt not America will always find enough of her sons ready to flock to her standard, and support her freedom; but experience proves that experienced soldiers are more capable of performing the duties of the camp, and better qualified to face the enemy, than others; and therefore every friend of America will be desirous that most of the gentlemen who compose the present army may continue in the service of their country until "Liberty, Peace, and Safety" are established. Although your private concerns may call for your assistance at home, yet the voice of your country is still louder, and it is painful to heroic minds to quit the field when liberty calls, and the voice of injured millions cries "To arms! To arms!" Never was a cause more important or glorious than that which you are engaged in; not only your wives, your children, and distant posterity, but humanity at large, the world of mankind, are interested in it; for if tyranny should prevail in this great country, we may expect liberty will expire throughout the world. Therefore, more human glory and happiness may depend upon your exertions than ever yet depended upon any of the sons of man. He that is a soldier in defense of such a cause, needs no title; his post is a post of honor, and although not an emperor, yet he shall wear a crown – of glory – and blessed be his memory!
The savage and brutal barbarity of our enemies in burning Falmouth, is a full demonstration that there is not the least remains of virtue, wisdom, or humanity, in the British court; and that they are fully determined with fire and sword, to butcher and destroy, beggar and enslave the whole American people. Therefore we expect soon to break off all kind of connection with Britain, and form into a Grand Republic of the American United Colonies, which will, by blessing of heaven, soon work out our salvation, and perpetuate the liberties, increase the wealth, the power, and the glory of this Western world.
Notwithstanding the many difficulties we have to encounter, and the rage of our merciless enemies, we have a glorious prospect before us, big with everything good and great. The further we enter into the field of independence, our prospects will expand and brighten, and a complete Republic will soon complete our happiness.
We may take for granted the freedoms we enjoy in this country but we should never take for granted those who gave them to us. On Friday shake a veteran's hand or give them a hug and say thank you.
Ryan Chapman is a senior marketing major. His column runs every Wednesday in the Collegian.