Cold Crucible

A Salute To Our Veterans
And also those who serve today.

by Lin Stone

In America today only one fourth the registered voters will make it all the way to the polls, and participation this high only during for a hotly contended presidential election. 

It takes the crackle of fireworks before most of us even take a moment to remember how freedom began. The parades drum with synthetic music, and children dance beside the twirling flags. Grandiose eloquence rises to the occasion in parks and mansions all across the land. And unless we think real hard we completely forget the price of freedom our veterans paid back through history in America's darkest hours.  We simply vibrate to those stirring words which only urged freedom onward to its birth.   

Freedom Began In America,

not when the rhetoric boiled hot, nor with a chant ringing in the hall, not with the humorous gestures of gleaming midnight paint -- no, not even with the pledges of a few eternal souls. For these were simply empty phrases carelessly flung into the wind until the common man proved willing to make the sacrifice that made these gestures the foundation of something real.

History showed the speechmakers would shiver at the very thought of spending three hours unprotected in the freezing wind, and turn aside for a warmer day.  Even the signers of the Declaration of Independence on July 3rd. asked that it not be read aloud until the following day so they would have time to get safely away. 

Freedom wasn't born with the forward surge of those who read the pretty summons and flocked to wear the pretty uniforms -- nor with those untried firebrands guzzling courage in the taverns who swore to fight the battle through. It was born in the ranks of those who served on, after realizing all hope for victory had vanished, but stubbornly refused to give up hope.

It was the common soldier that stayed at their posts in the cold crucible of Valley Forge that gave freedom its birth.  In this nation's deepest throes of anxiety, when all about us was a lost cause and the battle gone far in disarray, then -- and only then did Freedom begin. 

The chant for Freedom had died away to a forgotten whisper in the cities. A few dirty men in that cold crucible were all that was left to support the flaming rhetoric while leader, after patriotic leader went into hiding. They were the ones who then decided that Freedom is worth every price, and paid it. For the wondrous fires of Freedom were bought for us by men who stayed in the cold crucible when there was no wood there left to burn.

Those people, warm in Boston, could clink their empty glasses and do without their dash of wine for a day as some symbolic gesture of hidden defiance. But the birth of Freedom required something far more than a symbolic gesture hidden behind closed doors. It required the determination of common people, still willing to stand together in the cause even while lashed by the howling wind and bickering cold.

They too knew, that the battle for Freedom was lost, but they stayed. All reasonable hope for the dream of Freedom was shattered like an icicle flung against the frozen ground, yet those who served there in the cold crucible, served on.

Even when it was mutely admitted that all was lost; when there was nothing left but rags to cover freezing ears, and frayed blankets to defend bleeding toes, they stayed.  When they found out that freedom would cost that much, they went barefooted to their posts in the snow, for the cause of freedom.

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Mere men stood there, forsaken and alone in the cold crucible. Even the enemy ignored them, for they knew how helpless, and beaten the Continental Army was.

They were dirty with the grime of surviving, so weak they stumbled time and again, yet they refused to stumble backwards even when they fell. They struggled to rise, to defend a post no one was attacking, and refused to leave.

The army of freedom was beaten, beaten. Only a pitiful few struggled on there against the reality of a war lost and dreams gone cold. But those who stayed, those who refused to quit even though the battle was done, those who struggled upwards again and clawed their way to a standing post, those precious few would not let the precious blood of Freedom wash away. They are the ones who kept the dream alive, by staying, just by standing still even when all was lost.

They were the beginning, their valiant spirits cradled our freedom's birth. When all the dreams of America depended on them they were found doing all that mortal men could do.

They stood firmly at their post in America's darkest hour.

Stirring words are not enough.  Without an enlightened heart to beat them through, willing to stand at a post - hot or cold - our dreams of freedom can never greet the dawn. No matter how grave the crucible may be, those who love Freedom will not wash away. Those who love Freedom will stand -- Stand even when all hope is gone.

Amid the shocks of battle and far from the gleaming shore, those who love Freedom will stand when mere men should serve no more.


 the end

About the author:  Lin Stone maintains a National Directory of the best health insurance companies on the web and a National Directory of the best car insurance companies on the web. Hundreds of his other articles are available for free reading on the Internet. Just Click HERE to see an almost complete index to his works.

Browzer Books has published thirty four books by Lin Stone, including:  Short Stuff, Tales From the Light Side, Water, Water, etc.. 


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