The Foundations of Freedom
“When our perils are past, shall our gratitude sleep?” -George Canning
At the dawn of this nation’s history is the war we know as “The Revolutionary War.” The American situation was dire then. Thousands of British troops were on American soil, able to go where they wanted, infinitely better supplied and provisioned, and trained and drilled into the world’s greatest military power. And all that was further strengthened by approximately 30,000 war-seasoned and experienced German troops hired by the English to fight their battles. These “mercenaries,” as the Americans called them, came to America in entire units with their own uniforms, flags, weapons, and officers.
The Americans were a largely volunteer force. Congress struggled to clothe, feed, and outfit their soldiers, not to mention pay them for their services.
With the army barefoot in winter and wrapped in rags, Benjamin Franklin went to France as an ambassador for the newly-declared independent country. His mission was to secure help from the French king, specifically in money, supplies, and munitions so the colonists could gain any real hope of continuing their revolution for freedoms.
Those in the French court could not understand how this fledgling nation could be asking for help when it wouldn’t even conscript its own citizens for soldiers.
In what must be a great irony of the ages, Franklin explained to the French court that his fellow Americans believed that the freedoms they sought were most threatened by a standing army. Their fear was that the actions and allegiances of a standing army might corrupt the very purposes of the war: to obtain freedoms for every living citizen. Their ideology was something radically new to the world: to establish a republic through democratic process.
It was the character of America’s great men that allowed for unique, equality-focused laws to be put in place after the battles of the American Revolution. And since the time when the Constitution and Bill of Rights were established, the US has worked to maintain human liberties and freedoms throughout the world.
May is Military Appreciation Month
May is a special month: the month we recognize and honor those who have fought for these same liberties and freedoms. It was in 1999 when Congress first designated May as National Military Appreciation Month. This month of recognition was established so the nation could publicly demonstrate their appreciation for the sacrifices and successes made by our servicemembers—past and present.
The month of May includes the following observances that make up National Military Appreciation Month:
- May 1: Loyalty Day
- May 6-12: Public Service Recognition Week
- May 8: Victory in Europe Day
- May 11: Military Spouse Appreciation Day
- May 19: Armed Forces Day
- May 30: Memorial Day
Memorial Day is the only federal holiday in May, celebrated on the last Monday of the month. Dating from the Civil War era, Memorial day has traditionally marked recognition of those who have died in service to the nation. Each year on Memorial Day, the White House Commission on Remembrance promotes one minute of silence at 3 p.m. local time to honor the military’s fallen comrades and to pay tribute to the sacrifices made by the nation’s service members and veterans.
Here at Low VA Rates, we join our voices with the many who will be observing these occasions and remembering the sacrifices and acts of valor made by our veterans and servicemembers, past, present, and to come.
Said G.K. Chesterton, “Courage is almost a contradiction in terms. It means a strong desire to live taking the form of readiness to die.” Mary Ann Radmacher, added to Chesterton’s message on courage with this: “Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, “I will try again tomorrow.”
We thank all in the military community for their courage to live, taking the form of readiness to die. And to all those struggling with the consequences of war, with the after-effects of having endured the terrors of war, we thank you for the courage of a quiet voice at the end of the day saying, “I will try again tomorrow.”