|The patriot's blood is the seed of Freedom's tree. ~Thomas Campbell|
Memorial Day: May 28, 2012.
It seems that over the years, American's have largely forgotten what this day is all about... a day of remembering the men and women who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces. Being aware of this day's significance is good, but knowing our country's history and the story behind the creation of this federal holiday is even better.
Perhaps it would be beneficial to spend some time researching the background of this day we call Memorial Day. There are plenty of great resources on the internet on this subject. It simply requires a few moments of your time. Google is your friend. Make use of it.
When I was reflecting on what to write about Memorial Day, 2012 for this blog post, I kept thinking of Thomas Jefferson. Yes, I realize that Jefferson was on the scene a long time before the concept of a "Memorial Day" was born in the USA, but in his day, he possessed tremendous insight in regards to the direction our country might take depending on certain choices that the country as a whole would make. You could even call him somewhat prophetic considering how accurate he was in predicting the future.
So, what does Thomas Jefferson have to do with Memorial Day? Well, as one of our Founding Fathers, Jefferson was instrumental in drafting the framework by which the country was built, specifically, the Constitution of the United States. What I consider most notable is that he recognized that to remain a free people we absolutely needed to retain the right to free speech and the right to keep and bear arms. It was Thomas Jefferson who fiercely campaigned for the 2nd amendment of our Constitution to be ratified as part of the Bill of Rights.
Thomas Jefferson was certainly no war monger. He abhorred war. Yet, he knew that the citizens of the United States would only remain a free people if they retained the liberty to keep and bear arms. So, when I think of Memorial Day and reflect on all the fallen soldiers who have given their lives so that our country can continue to enjoy our unparalleled freedoms -- such as rights afforded us in the 2nd amendment -- I cannot help but think of Thomas Jefferson who planted many of those seeds of freedom.
Below are some quotations from Thomas Jefferson that you might find interesting and enlightening as you think of the ultimate price that was paid by hundreds of thousands of American patriots throughout our country's history.
"The constitutions of most of our States assert that all power is inherent in
the people; that... it is their right and duty to be at all times armed."
--Thomas Jefferson to John Cartwright, 1824.
"One loves to possess arms, though they hope never to have occasion for them."
--Thomas Jefferson to George Washington, 1796. ME 9:341
"A strong body makes the mind strong. As to the species of exercises, I advise
the gun. While this gives a moderate exercise to the Body, it gives boldness,
enterprise, and independence to the mind . . . Let your gun therefore be the
constant companion of your walks." --Thomas Jefferson, Letter to his nephew
Peter Carr, August 19, 1785.
"No freeman shall be debarred the use of arms (within his own lands or
tenements)." --Thomas Jefferson: Draft Virginia Constitution with (his note
added), 1776. Papers, 1:353
"Laws that forbid the carrying of arms . . . disarm only those who are neither
inclined nor determined to commit crimes . . . Such laws make things worse for
the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than
to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence
than an armed man." --Thomas Jefferson, quoting Cesare Beccaria in On Crimes and