“I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country.”
Quick. Who said that?
If you don’t know the answer, here’s a clue: He was an American Patriot who said those words at the age of twenty-one, just before he was hanged.
Still no guesses?
Don’t feel bad. You’re not alone. That kind of rich history hasn’t been taught very well for decades. It’s alarming, frankly.
Knowing our history is important, for reasons far deeper than memorizing a sea of dates and names. Understanding the good and the bad of our ancestors is how we protect our system of liberty that’s been handed down to us generation after generation.
Has our nation’s handling of liberty been perfect? No. But that’s the point. When we forget our history, we forget that freedom isn’t self-sustaining. It’s only guaranteed by our Constitution, and our Constitution means nothing if we don’t protect the principles of liberty upon which it is based. Our Republic is only as strong as its citizens’ willingness to take an active role in governing themselves.
That’s why tomorrow we should take a moment to reflect and ask ourselves if we’re celebrating Independence Day … or just July fourth.
Eric Metaxas is our guest on “Learning to Love America Again.” He’s explaining why America is such an exceptional nation despite our flaws. Our country has plenty to feel guilty about, and it’s important to talk about those problems openly. But if negative is all we see, then we do a profound disservice to our history – and to our future.
Eric is a speaker, radio host, and author of the book, If You Can Keep It: Forgotten Promise of American Liberty. I’d like to offer you a copy for a gift of any amount. When you help Focus on the Family today, your donation will be doubled for twice the impact in helping others through this ministry. Our thanks to generous donors who’ve made that possible. Visit our website for more information
By the way, since you’ve stuck with me this far, I’ll answer the question I posed at the beginning. Nathan Hale, a hero of the American Revolution and a young man who was nobly willing to die for the cause of freedom, is who said, “I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country.”
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