Some 236 years ago, the Continental Army was reeling from a series of massive defeats at the hands of the British. Morale was low. Men were suffering from unfathomable circumstances. It was December 1776 and the militia was outmanned and outgunned. Many soldiers did not even have shoes to wear while fighting on snow and ice.
What was to become our United States of America was in grave peril of never happening.
It was then that Thomas Paine wrote The American Crisis and steeled the resolve of the Revolution:
“These are the times that try men’s souls; the summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of his country; but he that stands 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.”
In the face of defeat, General George Washington ordered Paine’s words to be read to his men to give them heart and strength for what would become one of the most famous battles in our war for independence.
And we won.
Last week, the Supreme Court delivered a defeat to the principles of freedom and liberty in its ruling on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
236 years after Washington’s stunning victory at the battle of Trenton, we find ourselves fighting tyrrany yet again.
These are indeed again times that try men’s souls – and they are times that require us to be much more than ‘sunshine patriots’.
Give your loved ones a hug this Independence Day and take time to reflect on the sacrifices born by those that enable you to do so.
Our current conflict will be hard – but our triumph will also be glorious.