Friday, July 2, 2010

Home of the Brave

I never much cared for history when I was a little girl. Probably for two reasons: one, I only had a few fairly uneventful years of my own to review; and two, I wasn’t exposed to many others’ history. I’ve changed my tune, glory, glory hallelujah, and I care for history very much now. Years of personal history and discovering its invaluable lessons, while also learning about the history of mankind has deepened my appreciation.

They say there are three ways in which people view history:

• Chaotic. Events happen randomly and by happenstance.

• Linear. Events of yesterday do not affect today or tomorrow.

• Cyclical. Events follow a pattern.

I’m a cyclical believer myself. I’ve lived enough seasons, seen enough moons, watched enough births and deaths to be convinced that there are patterns. One pattern in history that has me thinking is that of big American wars. The Revolutionary War was followed eighty years later by the Civil War. The Civil War was followed eighty years later by World War II. Eighty years after World War II is fast approaching and, well . . ., we seem to have a pattern going.

I appreciate the lessons from history and recognize my happiness that has come from the decisions made by our Founding Fathers and early patriots, those who fought to keep American united, and those who protected our country from tyranny. Because of others who have been willing to give their “lives, fortunes, and sacred honor” for freedom, I have learned.


Take Margaret Corbin for example. She was a patriot. Wives of the soldiers routinely cooked meals, laundered clothes, and nursed wounds, but they also watched the men do their drills and learned those drills from the sidelines. Margaret fought in the Revolutionary War next to her husband, John. In November 1776 they were stationed in New York fighting British troops. John was assisting a gunner until the gunner was killed, then he took charge of the cannon and Margaret became his assistant. Later, John was killed too, so Margaret continued loading and firing the cannon. She was wounded by grapeshot which tore her shoulder, mangled her chest, and cut her jaw. She was carried to the rear of the company where she received medical treatment, but she never regained the use of her arm. History and Margaret Corbin have taught me it is wise to prepare to do hard things if I want to maintain freedom.


Or what of Mary Lincoln? While her husband, Abe, was in office Mary frequently nursed the wounded men in the nearby hospital. She often took fruit or flowers to them too. Mary attended to all the soldiers, black and white, even though she came from a family that supported slavery and her brother fought for the South. Even those of the North did not approve of Mary’s presence in the hospital, and especially to the attention she gave to the black soldiers. History and Mary Lincoln have taught me that right is right whether it is popular or not and freedom isn’t always popular.


And then there was Audie Murphy. He was born in Texas, the sixth of twelve children. When his father deserted the family, Audie dropped out of fifth grade to help support them. He earned a dollar a day. He also became a skilled rifleman, knowing his family depended on his ability to hunt food. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, Audie tried to enlist but was rejected for being under-age. With the help of his sister, Corrine, he adjusted his birth certificate and tried again. The Marines rejected him for being too short (not quite 5’6”). The Navy rejected him for being too skinny (110 pounds). The Army said he was just right, but after he passed out on a drill they tried to send him to baking school. Audie insisted he wanted to be a combat soldier. He finally received his desire and became the most decorated American soldier of World War II, including being a Medal of Honor recipient. He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery, and while Medal of Honor recipients’ headstones are typically decorated in gold leaf, Audie Murphy requested his stone be plain and inconspicuous. History and Audie Murphy have taught me the definitions of perseverance, courage, and humility and that freedom requires all three.

History still has much to teach me. My hope is that those of the next eighty years can count on me to teach and do what it takes to preserve freedom like the ones before have, because there is a pattern . . . 

Happy Independence Day.

8 comments:

hennchix said...

I cannot believe I get to comment first!! Loved the post and newsletter. Did you enjoy the lecture last night?

Deanna/Mimi said...

Beautiful posting my friend. Your love of history is evident in your messages and they convey the great love you have for our country. I too, share your feelings of what has gone on before...but I certainly do not have the knowledge or the eloquence of words to express it. I am thankful to you and for you as you bring it to enlightenment. Thank you!!!

Cassidy said...

Happy Independence Day!!!

Jill said...

You have such a way of making everything interesting! I didn't know about any of these people, and am so glad to know now.

Ande Payne said...

THAT is a good post. I'm so glad you share things like this.

Mindy said...

Great stories and examples from history! Thanks!

Emma J said...

I love to hear stories of brave people. It just makes something inside want to rise up and cheer. Thanks for sharing history.

michelle said...

I love this. I love your love of history, and what you share with all of us.

But I'm scared about the 80-year pattern...

And really hoping that your break in posting doesn't mean anything but happy busyness in your life.