The cost of freedom can readily be seen in the faces of those who have paid the price. The military men and women who served and gave the ultimate price for their country. A while back, Ken Burns did a special on the Civil War and the now famous letter was read during the presentation.
The ending of a very heart-rending letter, written by Union soldier, Sullivan Ballou, on July 14, 1861 reads:
But, O Sarah! If the dead can come back to this earth and flit unseen around those they loved, I shall always be near you; in the gladdest days and in the darkest nights … always, always, and if there be a soft breeze upon your cheek, it shall be my breath, as the cool air fans your throbbing temple, it shall be my spirit passing by. Sarah do not mourn me dead; think I am gone and wait for thee, for we shall meet again …”
Sullivan Ballou would meet his death at the Battle of Bull Run only one week later.
The thoughts of those facing battle for a cause they truly believe in is noble. We can learn much from their letters. Here is a sampling of some quotes from letters over our country’s short history. I wonder if we are still willing to pay the price these heroes did.
Even though our country is currently in turmoil, I believe that patriotism is still alive. There is still a tiny ember burning. Freedom is worth it. We need to remember that. As we approach the celebration of the birth of our nation, let’s never forget the bravery and courage of the men and women who serve her.
LETTERS FROM SOLDIERS
“The battle has been raging all day in the distance and I am unable to ascertain whether any thing has been gained or not. O how I long for this war to end. How I long for peace. How will I hail the day when I return to the bosom of my family. My Dear I hope to see you.” (Samuel D. Lougheed letter to his wife Jane “Jennie” Lougheed, April 30 – May 1 1863 Civil War.)
“The Dangers we are to Encounter I [know] not but it Shall never be Said to my Children your father was a Coward.” (Taken from a letter from an officer serving the British Crown as a second Lieutenant out of Connecticut in 1774, prior to the Revolutionary War.)
“The ambulance ride down here was easy. I rode in the front with the driver. As soon as I was admitted here, the doctors took me under their wing had I moved into their quarters with them. I should be here too much longer. This is my fourth day. I think. Rumor has it the boys are digging in up on the hill. I have tried to keep melodrama out and the facts in throughout. You asked for color—if most of it happened to be hemoglobin red, it wasn’t because I wanted it that way.” (Portion of a letter from Lt. John W. Harper, USMCR – September 22,1951 Korean War
“I would be desireous to get home but I cant any way to get to without doing as them that has gon and I think it is best to stay to such time as I can go home in safety and with some honor as I cant think to lose my time for nothing and be farther back than when I started.” (portion of a letter written by John Hollyday on May 27, 1813 War of 1812.)
“I have purposely not told you much about my world over here, because I thought it might upset you. Perhaps that has been a mistake, so let me correct that right now. I still doubt if you will be able to comprehend it. I don’t think anyone can who has not been through it … I live in a world of death …” This letter was written by Quentin Aanenson to his girlfriend, Jackie Greer, on December 5, 1944. After writing it, he folded it up and placed it in his foot locker – never mailing it.
Even though we seem to be on the verge of great division in our country, we need to remember that a nation under God will never perish. Freedom is worth the fight.
Deuteronomy 28:1 “And if you faithfully obey the voice of the Lord your God, being careful to do all his commandments that I command you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth.”