I had grand ambitions of a Veterans Day post, but the day is upon us and I have composed nothing yet…
Let me take this opportunity to comment upon a dispute that springs up every 4th of July, which I think might better be pondered on November 11th: the paucity of signers of the DoI who were captured by the British and charged specifically with treason for having signed the DoI.
This is brought up to “debunk” Independence Day chain emails reminding us of the price that the founders paid, by pointing out that (supposedly) they didn’t pay the various prices claimed (consequences of various sorts, whether destruction of property or loss of life) as an exclusive consequence of signing the DoI. Instead, they engaged in military combat and other treasonous activities, in the context of which they were captured and treated as prisoners, so they didn’t “pay the price” for their role in our founding.
Hogwash, specifically factually true but irrelevant. We should be more respectful of the sacrifices of our founders, not less respectful, due to their backing up their words with action, demonstrating that they meant it when they wrote “we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor”. Imagine how we would feel about the founders if, having declared independence, they then took no further action, just waiting for others to make something happen.
Furthermore, the one example “conceded” by the debunkers, that of Richard Stockton, isn’t as pure as the debunkers would have us believe. Though not in uniform, Stockton was on a military reconnaissance mission in the service of Congress when arrested, so even he was more than a man of mere words. His bio can be found at this link:
The relevance of all of this is that as we remember the sacrifices of our veterans this Nov 11, and every Veterans Day, let us remember that a big part of our reverence for the founders is due to, rather than mitigated by, their following up the DoI with practical action to seize independence. Though not all serving in uniform, they were in a very real sense our first cohort of veterans, and thank God for that.