June 29, 2004 -- [excerpt]
Fellow Americans, we're coming up to July 4th. Beyond soda, hot dogs and picnics, a day for all things patriotic. A day to ground dread and terror and let Old Glory fly.
America's Declaration of Independence was signed by 56 founding fathers.
Five were captured as traitors. Tortured before they died. Britain, our ally today, was our enemy then.
Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned.
Four lost sons serving in the Revolutionary Army.
Nine died from wounds received fighting in the Revolutionary War.
Twenty-four were lawyers and jurists. Eleven, merchants. Nine, plantation owners. Educated men of means who signed the Declaration knowing full-well their penalty could be death.
Wealthy trader Carter Braxton of Virginia's ships were destroyed by the British navy. He sold all he had to pay his debts. He died in rags.
Thomas McKeam, serving in Congress without pay, was so hounded that he was forced to uproot his family constantly. They lived in hiding. His possessions were seized. His reward, poverty.
The properties of Dillery, Hall, Clymer, Walton, Gwinnett, Heyward, Ruttledge and Middleton were looted.
At the Battle of Yorktown, Thomas Nelson Jr. declared that His Majesty's General Cornwallis had requisitioned the Nelson home for his headquarters. He urged Washington, another Commander-in-Chief by the name of George, to open fire. The home was destroyed. Nelson died bankrupt.
Francis Lewis' total wherewithal was set ablaze or destroyed. The opposing forces jailed his wife. She died within months.
John Hart was driven from his dying wife's bedside. Their 13 children fled for their lives. His fields and mill were laid to waste. He lived in forests and caves and never found his children.
These facts were given to me by someone who had them given to her. The genesis of their original transmission, I don't know. I only know whoever cobbled them together was a better writer than I and added to the information these words:
"We must not take our liberties for granted.
"While enjoying your July 4th holiday, silently thank these patriots. It's not much to ask for the price they paid.
"Remember, freedom is never free.
"Patriotism is our privilege."