Sometimes I think my voice doesn't matter. That I am just one person. With one small voice.
At the risk of being identified, I want to share a piece of an email I received from an amazing lady.
One of my greatest treasures is a letter which was written by a many-great-grandfather, David Morgan, who fought in the American Revolutionary War. He was a Virginian, and surveyed with and was a friend of George Washington’s (he is mentioned in Washington’s diary). About ten years after the end of the war, he wrote this letter to his friend John Stafford, with whom he had fought side by side in the war, and he talked about what they experienced and why they did it. I would like to share a part of that letter with you:
“When we were harried in the hills of Cove and went wretched in the blow of winter winds, with no food for our bellies and no clothes for our backs, and the price of our disloyalty, if traitors we would be, was all that our miserable hearts could desire: food, clothing, beds, cash for our pokes, wine and the favors of fair women, and above all, the blessings of King George the Idiot. And what sustained us then?”. . .
“So what kept us nibbling at frozen roots and burrowing our beds into the Devil’s Guts briars; what kept our thoughts on our poor little withered hopes?
“Was it God? God was on our side, I can’t doubt it. But God’s favor is never easily won. God is always on the side where the last hard to find drops of courage lie. We thought of God constantly and we prayed when we could. But it was not God who kept us loyal.
“Nor more was it love of kith and kin, of sweethearts or friends, nor was it our love of country and flag. For we had none then. It was not our wishing to keep the things we had, for we had so little. But I need not tell you what it was. For the taste of Freedom was on the tongues of our souls, and it was a good and heady taste, wasn’t it, Stafford? And we loved the hope that it gave us more than we loved our lives. For not a one of us was there who did not say at one time or another in that cold and hungry time, that here, indeed, was something worth dying for.
“When we thought of Freedom, we walked up straight and tall in our bloody rags and sang Hallelujah!
“Freedom, Stafford! That was our witching word, our Holy Word; that was what made magic for us. Freedom! Freedom to worship as pleased us, to work as we saw fit, to learn as we thought proper, to own lands, to own ourselves, and know that no man must put himself or be put by others above the least of us.
“In those awful days when we ate from the same root pile, and wrapped our bloody, aching feet in the same icy rags and smeared our wounds with the same cold mud, and whispered together in the dark, deathly hours, our ideas locked hands in true agreement then. We saw eye to eye then, John.
“Have you changed? Have you found Freedom too heavy and too hard to bear? You knew as well as I did and the others, what a wearisome burden Freedom would be, and that it would not lighten with the years, but would wax heavier as our souls became lighter and our backs became stronger. Pray God you haven’t changed, dear old friend. . .”
And with the thoughts from this old letter,
from a brave moment in American history, from a man long since past,
let's go out and vote!