The torch of freedom

A statue of John Paul Jones stands in West Potomac Park, Washington DC, April 2005

A statue of John Paul Jones stands in West Potomac Park, Washington D.C., April 2005

“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, 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!

This post was originally published seven years ago today. The original post, comments and photo are linked, along with two other related posts, below. These links to related posts, and their thumbnail photos, do not appear in the blog feed; they are only visible when viewing the individual posts by clicking on each one. I have no idea why, nor do I know how they choose the related posts. That’s just the way WordPress does things.

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