Editorial: Looking for the bravery
Op-Ed · July 05, 2013

Where is the bravery this Independence Day?

When our Founding Fathers signed the Declaration of Independence, all 56 of them knew they, if not successful in the fight for freedom, were signing their death warrants. What we consider bravery today, King George saw as treason back then.

But where is that kind of bravery today?

When we speak of bravery, our first thoughts go to the men and women in uniform, from the U.S. armed forces to the police officers and firefighters throughout our nation. Just this week, 19 firefighters lost their lives in Arizona doing their jobs. Undoubtedly they were brave.

But outside those uniforms, it is difficult to see the brave, the heroes.

The Colonists held parties after the Declaration of Independence was signed, setting off cannons and hosting parades. This was with the understanding that the Crown would likely send troops to take back the land. Instead of fleeing, they dug in and stood their ground.

The Founding Fathers had declared a new nation with the words that “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”

The Revolutionary War lasted for eight years. That’s as long as two presidential terms. Would we, today, have the stomach to fight that long? This is not just an argument, a discussion, or a movement. This is not a “fight” in the metaphoric sense of the word. Numbers are largely unknown, but an estimated 25,000 to 50,000 of the new “Americans” and nearly 20,000 British died in battle, or from disease and sickness.

“We must all hang together, or, assuredly, we will all hang separately,” Benjamin Franklin said.

How many of the laws passed recently, or Supreme Court decisions handed down in the past month, would be repealed or withdrawn if we knew holding fast to these beliefs would result in such bloodshed? How many of the politicians or special-interest groups or pundits would be willing to take up arms for their causes? How many causes would suddenly seem insignificant?

Is our conviction really that great? Are you willing to die for what you believe?

If our nation were attacked, and our men and women in uniform wiped out, how many of us would step up, grab their guns and fight like the fathers and sons who left their farms and businesses and homes for the Revolution?

Here’s to the courage that existed back when America first stood on its own two feet, armed and ready for battle, knowing that the cause of freedom was worth the fight, the human toll and the sacrifice. Let us pray we can all find that same bravery within ourselves if another worthy fight comes along.

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