The torch of freedom
“The stature of our homeland is no more than the measure of ourselves. Our job is to keep her free. Our will is to keep the torch of freedom burning for all. To this solemn purpose we call on the young, the brave, the strong, and the free.” — John Paul Jones
Many of us associate John Paul Jones with his legendary words “Surrender? I have not yet begun to fight!” While there is some debate as to whether these were his exact words, no historian questions the desperate circumstances under which he refused to give up. Those brave and defiant words are engraved on the monument pictured above, which was the first memorial raised in Potomac Park, Washington D.C., in honor of the first American naval hero.
More than five years of grueling war followed the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. The spirit exemplified by John Paul Jones and others enabled the colonies to press on through times of misery and despair, never losing hope in their dreams of freedom and a new form of government.
The Fourth of July is a happy time for most U. S. citizens, partly because it’s associated with picnics, fireworks and summertime fun. But it’s also a great time to remember that courage, determination and tenacity can lead underdogs to unprecedented victories.
Freedom is a fragile and demanding legacy. For all people everywhere, it demands conviction and courage to sustain freedom in the face of opposition and oppression. As the USA celebrates its 237th birthday, I wish you a weekend of reflection on the great achievements of those who stood firm through fierce adversity. May we all be inspired to do likewise!