National Association of Rural Landowners

The Vanguards of Freedom
By Ron Ewart
Copyright March, 2007

All the great men and heroes of the last 250 years, started and ended over a thousand times higher than where I stand today. Most were men of privilege and ambition, as were the founders and defenders of America and America's freedom. Most aspired to shape the future and leave their mark upon it, sometimes for personal gain, other times for the benefit of man. Most were dogged by failure, even though history recorded their successes. Many were insecure, as was Winston Churchill, but still he pressed forward, in spite of that insecurity, because he believed and had confidence in himself and his appointment with destiny.

Most of these great men were visionaries and could divine the future from present events. Most were men of courage, like George Washington, and although out-numbered and out-gunned, he stood steadfast in the face of overwhelming odds. We owe our very freedom to him, and men like him. Most understood human nature and used that knowledge to direct their own actions. Although destined to follow a common path, many strayed from the path, or took issue with the prevailing wisdom. John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, two men who worked tirelessly on our founding documents, became bitter enemies during the presidential election in the early 1800s. These differences among men sometimes altered the course of events in a positive way. Other differences would lead us down dead-end paths, or put our very freedom and security in grave peril, as it is today.

Some men would pick up the sword, musket or cannon to advance their cause, while still others would pick up the pen. Thomas Paine was just such a man, who used his pen to move men through inspiration, during the revolution from which America was born. On the night before George Washington led his troops across an ice-jammed river into a British encampment, in which defeat was all but assured, General Washington read Thomas Paine's inspirational words to his troops to ready them for battle. Did those words turn the tide of battle to victory? Perhaps.
In the hearts of all men lay the seeds of the opposing forces of good and evil. Fortunately for history, in that eternal struggle, the good most often defeats that tenacious of all enemies, evil. And so it was, 230 years ago, the forces of good, won out against evil. Men of good will entered into a battle that would alter the course of history forever. A vastly different kind of freedom would be born on a new continent. In this new freedom, individual rights became sacrosanct, inalienable, and an irrevocable gift from our creator. Government was instituted among men to preserve, protect and defend those inalienable and irrevocable rights. For the last 100 years or more, government has failed miserably in this solemn duty, as we lay sleeping.

Even today, as we drown in the fog of our own prosperity and look for the easiest paths to take, while ignoring the clear and present dangers that confront us from foreign and domestic foes, men of courage and vision are still on guard. They are still looking into the future and warning us of what lies ahead. They are the vanguards, the scouts and the early-warning alarm to the many who have forgotten that freedom comes at a price. These vanguards cannot hold onto freedom all by themselves. They must be able to wake the masses from the deep sleep of apathy. They must be the signalmen of the "one-if-by-land", or "two-if-by-sea" lights in the old North Church. We can only hope that soon, the people will wake from their slumber, and see and act on the signal, before it is too late. The fate of freedom could very well hang in the balance.

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