Tyranny & the Fourth

Coincidentally, the document that declared the independence of the United States was officially sanctioned on 04 July 1776 in Philadelphia and the turning-point battle of the Civil War that preserved the resulting Union was fought on 04 July 1863 at Gettysburg. Thus, in the span of little more than one average lifetime as measured by today’s standards, the nation was founded and saved. Actually, the Constitution was officially ratified in 1788 and the first president and first Congress officially took office and “founded” the nation in 1789, so the actual birth and salvation of the new country took place in the span of just one lifetime.

The Revolutionary War had been on for more than a year when the Declaration of Independence was signed in 1776. The Battles of Lexington and Concord in April 1775 were battles that took many lives. By the end of the day, British troops had lost 273 soldiers, while the Colonists lost only 94. Eighteen of these Colonists had died during the battle at Lexington. The Revolutionary War had begun. So…the nation was birthed and saved through the shedding of much blood. An estimated 25,000 U.S. soldiers lost their lives in the eight-year Revolutionary War, and an incredible 624,000 died in military action during the four-year Civil War, nearly half of all deaths in all the wars in which this country has engaged.

Nearly all the deaths and all the many times more in number of the wounded have occurred in the never-ending battle against tyranny of one kind or another, whether the despicable despotism of the British in the 1770s or inculcated by monster dictator Adolf Hitler in the 1930s-40s or the tyranny of terrorism inflicted upon this country on 09 September 2001 by monster Muslim Osama bin Laden. The battles against tyranny will never end, and the major – almost only – bulwark against tyranny today is the United States, to which the nations of the world look to be the international stabilizer.

TYRANNY

The muffled sound of drum and fife
And musketry in mortal strife
And voices raised in anger, pain,
Or mourning those among the slain
Are sensed when contemplating still
The carnage of a Bunker Hill,
When only battles - bloody, fierce -
The wall of tyranny could pierce.

Then comes to mind the gory scenes
From Queenston Heights to New Orleans
When tyranny again was banned
Upon the sea, upon the land;
And one can sense again the sound
When roaring cannons shook the ground
And mortal men...to make men free...
Would enter immortality.

On Shiloh’s bloody ground that day
They died with valor in full sway,
Or Gettysburg...Chancellorsville,
Where brothers each might brother kill;
One hears the massive, tragic groan
As tens of thousands would atone
- With blood - for hated slavery...
The vilest form of tyranny.

When jaded beasts oppress the poor
And close to them sweet freedom’s door,
It falls upon the free...the strong
Throughout the world to right this wrong;
At Santiago, brave men fell,
And San Juan Hill became a hell,
But men who found eternity
Gained entry scourging tyranny.

Chateau-Thierry, Belleau Wood,
Where thousands died, but others stood
Their ground with blood and sweat and fears,
And buried comrades through their tears;
And one can sense the frightful sounds
Of tanks and planes emitting rounds
From lethal, modern weaponry
To end the threat of tyranny.

To end the threat of tyranny? -
Ah...no...remember Normandy,
Or Iwo Jima, Anzio,
Where once again the blood must flow;
And one may close the eyes and see
And hear the mighty guns at sea
And wonder why it all must be...
But knows deep down...end tyranny.

So listen!...hear the muffled roar
Of new jet planes now bound for war,
Of new invasions from the sea,
The dying fighting tyranny;
And names like Inchon, Pork Chop Hill,
And Bloody Ridge - remembered still -
Assault the mind, yet augur peace,
In hope that tyranny will cease.

But hope, though strong, has little worth
As long as despots roam the earth,
As long as beasts whose prime resource
Is tyranny...forge brutal force;
So listen...as the jungle screams,
And those who die are shorn of dreams
At Pleiku, Khe Sanh, and Da Nang,
Where flags from coffins daily hang.

No…evil tyranny survives,
Each generation robbed of lives
Attempting to wipe out its curse,
Each war the next one to rehearse;
Recall the battle in the sand -
Exploding missiles as they land
On Persian Gulf, Kuwait, Iraq,
Mad tyranny again to block.

As in most centuries before,
The twenty-first begins with war
When evil men in Allah’s name
Torch innocents in jet-fuel flame;
Their leaders learn that they will pay
In Afghan mountains day by day,
Or in Iraqi towns and sand
An awesome price when good men stand.

************

In tranquil fields throughout the world,
Our dead are marked by flags unfurled,
Or marked by nature’s restless waves,
Beneath the seas in timeless graves;
Yes, thus it is, and thus will be...
Until God’s final, terse decree...
But until then, now strong and free,
The decent must kill tyranny.