By: Jim Gates, Department of Colorado Commander
HAPPY NEW YEAR AMERICAN LEGION FAMILY!
As I ended 2012 I found myself enjoying a bit of U.S. History, a topic that has always intrigued me. Where? South Carolina’s King Mountain Military Park, which is just south of the North Carolina Border, near Blackburn, SC and Shelby, NC home of The American Legion Baseball World Series.
King’s Mountain is famous in that it is the site of the 1780 Revolutionary War battle where patriot forces led by William Campbell with the aid of Col. Isaac Shelby (yes, Shelby NC was named in his honor) defeated a force of British regulars and Loyalist colonists. The battle is significant in that this battle is the ONLY one where the primary weapon used by Patriot forces was the American Long Rifle, and after this battle, Loyalist militia would no longer turn-out in support of British Regular Forces.
This was the turning point in the Revolutionary War, which led to our independence from a tyrannical and controlling form of life that our colonists sought to escape from the British and which followed them across the Atlantic Ocean.
Leading this charge of Patriots were a group of men who came from hundreds of miles around through road less forests to once and for all battle the foe to the finish. They were essentially farmers, hunters and artisans. They had formed settlements in remote areas nearly independent of Royal authority and they were little concerned of the nearly five year old war fought primarily in the northern colonies and along the eastern coast.
But, in early 1780, Britain turned its military attention to the South, coming ashore at Charleston, SC and began working its way northward. Word spread of their success in conquering the countryside, bit by bit. Determined that they would not allow their wretched former life once again be forced upon them and take over their valued freedom, our Patriot forces, now espousing a Guerilla type of warfare, came to defeat the British and their Loyalists trained in methods of a totally different and formal nature. Essentially taking ground from below and fighting their way upward in the reaches of a small valley, our Patriot forces fought an uphill (and successful) battle. Total British defeat in Virginia and our first Presidential election was, by now, only nine years away. And the rest it is said – is history.
By now, you are probably wondering where I am heading with all of this: What price freedom, and how much do we REALLY respect and value freedom??
As I took the mile and half walk around the battle site at King’s Mountain I suddenly felt a far different wave of patriotism fall over me.
HAVE WE COME FULL CIRCLE??
Is our form of government slowly eating away at the freedoms our Patriot brothers so bitterly fought for and left us to safeguard as a precious gift? Next up on the chopping block, I fear, may be our 2nd Amendment rights. Looking desperately for something to hang the blame on in the recent spate of deaths brought about by societal misfits using firearms to carry out their deranged objectives, our lawmakers seem to be quite intent on dancing around the real issues at stake and instead, and may choose to punish us ALL.
SO, HOW MUCH DO YOU REALLY LOVE YOUR COUNTRY??
We must truly band together again, as brothers and sisters, and insist that the freedoms we were handed as a gift those many years ago are never taken away from us. We must convince those whom we chose to represent our interests in our nation’s highest governing body to actually carry out the aims we sent them to Congress with and not settle for the continuing erosion of our freedoms and rights. We’ve fought for the freedoms of others around the world. We had now best concentrate our sights (no pun intended) on maintaining our own freedom and rights here at home, while there’s still time!
God Bless, and until February, then, that’s my “Call”!