America was born out of strife and discontent. The hope and vision that carried a people through a war with a great nation would again be the catalyst for another human struggle for freedom.
Freedom is a word that is thrown around a lot these days. Freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of the press are just a few that we hear often. But do we ever sit back and really think about the value of freedom? Not just how great it is that we, in America can worship our God without fear of imprisonment or speak our minds in the street and at the ballot boxes without being shot by our government. But, the value in lives. The lives lost by a relative few so millions could know freedom that they themselves on dreamed of experiencing.
There are no reliable statistics for the loss of life during the Revolutionary War, partly due to that fact our militia was very unorganized, at least in he beginning. Many men left their farms, leaving behind families, to fight a war that seemed unwinnable against an enemy that seemed undefeatable. Often half-clothed and starving, these men held on to the greater cause…freedom.
Nearly a century after our nation’s birth we were again at war, this time we were fighting ourselves. Still, the cause was the same. Freedom. Again, men left home and family to fight for something they could only dream of attaining. Soldiers fought, not only for themselves, but also for generations they would never know. The cost of the Civil War in human lives has been estimated to be at least 620,000.
Today is the 150th Anniversary of the start of the Civil War and as we commemorate this day and we hear the word “Freedom” thrown about, let’s stop and truly honor the value of freedom. Value in what we are able to enjoy today, and the value of the sacrifice made by hundred’s of thousands of people we will never know. Both are priceless.
Statue of Union General G.K. Warren overlooking the Gettysburg Battlefield