There are many "tall tales" about how America won its independence from Great Britain. Heck, there are millions of tall tales about most of our history. And though there is much false information out there masquerading itself as truth ... much of it does have roots in the truth until someone saw fit to blow it a bit out of proportion (such is the human condition).
So, when a friend of mine sent me the following mass forwarded e-mail, I checked it out on Snopes.com (seekers of truth). And - as I might have expected - most of it is true - with a little exaggeration thrown in the mix to spice things up a bit...
"Have you ever wondered what happened to the 56 men who signed the Declaration of Independence?
Five signers were captured by the British as traitors,and tortured before they died.
Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned.
Two lost their sons serving in the Revolutionary Army;another had two sons captured.
Nine of the 56 fought and died from wounds or hardships of the Revolutionary War.
They signed and they pledged their lives, their fortunes,and their sacred honor.What kind of men were they?
Twenty-four were lawyers and jurists.Eleven were merchants,nine were farmers and large plantation owners;men of means, well educated,but they signed the Declaration of Independence knowing full well that the penalty would be death if they were captured.
Carter Braxton of Virginia, a wealthy planter and trader, saw his ships swept from the seas by the British Navy. He sold his home and properties to pay his debts, and died in rags.
Thomas McKeam was so hounded by the British that he was forced to move his family almost constantly. He served in the Congress without pay, and his family was kept in hiding. His possessions were taken from him,and poverty was his reward.
Vandals or soldiers looted the properties of Dillery, Hall, Clymer,Walton, Gwinnett, Heyward, Ruttledge, and Middleton.
At the battle of Yorktown, Thomas Nelson, Jr., noted that the British General Cornwallis had taken over the Nelson home for his headquarters. He quietly urged General George Washington to open fire. The home was destroyed,and Nelson died bankrupt.
Francis Lewis had his home and properties destroyed.The enemy jailed his wife, and she died within a few months.
John Hart was driven from his wife's bedside as she was dying.Their 13 children fled for their lives. His fields and his grist mill were laid to waste. For more than a year he lived in forests and caves, returning home to find his wife dead and his children vanished.
So, take a few minutes while enjoying your 4th of July holiday and silently thank these patriots. It's not much to ask for the price they paid. Remember: freedom is never free! It's time we get the word out that patriotism is NOT a sin, and the Fourth of July has more to it than beer,picnics, and baseball games."
So - my fellow Americans (with sincere sympathies to my Native American friends) ... let us celebrate the tenacity of the American spirit ... three cheers for the bold and brave men and women who risked their lives to create a truly FREE country. America is still a most amazing country ... and one to be proud of ... but there are many freedoms for which we take for granted ... and thus have allowed politicians, corporations and news media to slowly take them from us. Today --- let us take a vow to follow the lead of our forefathers & mothers ... and to take our freedoms back! Let us read the Declaration of Independence again --- out loud --- to ourselves and to our children so that we always remember who we are and what we stand for. Then - for good measure - let us read our Constitution over and over and over again until we know it by heart - so that we (and our children) can maintain and uphold the principles of that amazing document.
HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY my fellow Americans! Long Live America.
P.S. Always remember - POWER TO THE PEOPLE!