“These are the times that try men’s souls.”
America is in trouble. No less now than 239 years ago, when the American Revolutionary War seemed all but lost, and the thirteen colonial states’ effort to separate from Great Britain seemed to be in vain.
On Christmas Day of 1776, the Continental Army was sitting on the west side of the Delaware River, across from an army of Hessian mercenaries fighting for the British, who were considered some of the best fighters in the world. For the American army, a force just over a year old which had lost nearly every battle since, it seemed like an impossibility to last through the year. The soldiers were cold, many didn’t have shoes, and if they tried to last the winter under these conditions, a great number would surely starve and die of exposure, if not desert.
Today, our country faces different challenges, but they are threats to our liberty regardless. We have crippling debts at all all levels, both public and private. Many estimates put our federal unfunded obligations over $200 trillion, an unpayable amount, if legislators don’t make massive changes to the “third rail” issues of Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security (and soon to be Obamacare).
Our military has been at war for over a decade, across several continents. An apathetic American populace has allowed every important aspect of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights to be stepped on and distorted by bureaucrats and tyrants. Our schools systems are rapidly declining in performance despite the proportionate increase in spending. America is no longer the shining city on the hill our Founding Fathers created it to be.
We are on the verge of losing our country. The American dream of individualism has been replaced by idolatry and worship of the Washington machine that claims be the creator of the rights they fail to protect.
On December 23, 1776, Thomas Paine finished part one of his series “The American Crisis” and was given to the Continental Army to be read aloud, before General Washington made the bold move which would help turn the tides of the war, and keep the Revolution alive.
“The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.”
That Christmas, the American heroes of that generation kept liberty alive. They did not have the luxury of waking up to open presents that morning, they didn’t spend the night watching their new TV or playing their new video games. They were cold, hungry, and scared. Nonetheless, they spent their Christmas preparing for battle, gathering in boats in the middle of the night, crossing the freezing Delaware River, and launching a surprise attack against the Hessian troops on the other side.
Those Americans were not summer soldiers or sunshine patriots. They continued the fight of liberty in the darkest of times. The morning of December 26, 1776, the Continental Army had captured or killed nearly 1000 of the elite Hessian troops, at the expense of two Americans dead from exposure and five wounded.
This Christmas we will be able to enjoy the luxuries they didn’t, but we mustn’t let that weaken our resolve. Our American generation must not shrink from the service of our country. While we do not have to cross a freezing river to keep liberty alive, we have our own challenges to face. Our generation will determine whether the America our Founding Fathers created is kept alive, or will be replaced by dystopia.
Paine’s article later says:
“What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as FREEDOM should not be highly rated.”
Our freedom may have seemed to be obtained cheap, but we must realize the eternal cost of it.
THESE are the times that try men’s souls.
As you enjoy your Christmas holiday, never forget the cost paid throughout the centuries for this liberty, and the price we must continue to pay to save this country. It is not easy, because tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered.
Remember this Christmas, General George Washington, and the Americans who spent their Christmas preparing to fight the good fight. We must prepare ourselves for the good fight as well. We must save this country. America is worth the cost.
Merry Christmas, America. Merry Christmas.