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Freedom Isn't Free
This Independence Day, we remember the more than 2500 Americans that have given all they had to give in defense of freedom in Iraq, and we thank God for them, and for their families. We thank God for thousands more who gave up a limb, not for oil, not for gain, but to give the greatest gift of all: Freedom.
America sent its sons and daughters to Vietnam because the Communist North threatened to impose itself on the South. The politicians and the media each had their own agendas, but the cause for which America sacrificed 56,000 young men and women was freedom.
Fifty-two thousand men went to the other side of the world where they gave their lives fighting to protect the freedom of the South Korean peninsula.
America sent millions of its young men to Europe in 1942 to restore freedom to the countries occupied by the Nazi horde . . . 408,000 never came home. Another 600,000 were wounded.
In one blood-soaked year, 116,000 Americans gave their lives to save the French during World War I. Not one of these conflicts were fought for conquest. Americans asked for no more land than was necessary to bury their dead.
America was founded by men who valued freedom so deeply that the Declaration of Independence, signed 230 years ago today, concluded with the solemn oath, "And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm Reliance on the Protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor."
Of the fifty-six signers of the Declaration, nine gave their lives in battle; five were captured by the British. Eighteen were utterly ruined for their devotion to the cause.
Lewis Morris of New York had his estate destroyed by the British, his cattle butchered, and his family sent fleeing for their lives.
William Floyd and his family became refugees for seven years. Floyd's wife didn't survive the war.
Carter Braxton of Virginia, an aristocratic planter who had invested heavily in shipping, saw most of his vessels captured by the British navy. His estates were largely ruined, and by the end of his life he was a pauper.
Thomas Nelson Jr. of Virginia raised $2 million for the patriots' cause on his own personal credit. The government never reimbursed him, and repaying the loans wiped out his entire estate. During the battle of Yorktown, his house, which had been seized by the British, was occupied by General Cornwallis.
Nelson quietly urged the gunners to fire on his own home. They did so, destroying it. He was never again a man of wealth. He died bankrupt and was buried in an unmarked grave.
John Hart of New Jersey was forced to flee in the winter of 1776, at the age of 65, from his dying wife's bedside. While he hid in forests and caves, his home was demolished, his fields and mill laid waste, and his 13 children put to flight.
When it was finally safe for him to return, he found his wife dead, his children missing, and his property decimated. He never saw any of his family again and died, a shattered man, in 1779.
These men were all men of great wealth and influence in the Colonies, but they gave all they had to give their countrymen freedom. Freedom is never free.
This July 4th, remember to pray for the American forces who remain on the battlefield, earning in blood the freedom that so many of us take for granted.
May God continue to bless them and keep them and grant them victory. And may God bless us all.