It is the July 4th holiday weekend, a longer one than usual thanks to the obsession we have for observing federal holidays on Monday. Every American knows the actual date of the occasion, and they know its meaning: the birth of our nation. Unlike other, more solemn holidays like Veteran’s Day and Memorial Day, July 4th is a day where we rejoice. There are parades, barbeques, and fireworks all around the country. It is a summer holiday, and summer is a good time for outdoor festivities.
In short, if you are going to wage a military offensive, all other things being equal, the optimal time to do it is right around July 4th.
The warmth of summer is conducive to more than just recreational activities. Military leaders have known for millennia that better weather tends to make for (with some exceptions) a better time for waging war. Summertime's “polar" opposite, winter warfare (sometimes referred to as Arctic warfare), is far more challenging. The German soldiers who fought in Russia during WWII could vouch for that, as could Napoleon, who was forced to withdraw his army from Moscow with winter looming in 1812. Everything about waging war is easier when the weather is good. Logistical challenges are fewer. Troops can carry lighter loads, and it is simpler to shelter them. Transportation is easier on the ground, in the air, and on the sea. In short, if you are going to wage a military offensive, all other things being equal, the optimal time to do it is right around July 4th.
This was especially true still back on July 4th, 1776, when our founding fathers issued the Declaration of Independence. While we had been effectively engaged in a military battle with Britain for over a year, it was not yet a “formal” war to assert our independence. We had started to fight, but we had not yet decided on or declared our intentions to the adversary.
When the Second Continental Congress came together in 1775 after the Battles of Lexington and Concord, there was no secret as to the agenda. The matter before them was what these 13 colonies would do regarding the relationship with the empire across the pond.
[caption id="attachment_191145" align="aligncenter" width="1920"] The Death of General Warren at the Battle of Bunker Hill.[/caption]
As the Congress convened, Thomas Paine was on the verge of making great sense to many colonists with his January 1776 widely-read pamphlet entitled “Common Sense," which called for our (then British) territory to fight for its independence. The colonies were outnumbered and out-equipped by British forces, but Paine assured people that wouldn’t be a problem. Our fighters would be more motivated, and others (particularly, the French) would be drawn to our cause in support of freedom. We would prevail.
Our fighters would be more motivated, and others (particularly, the French) would be drawn to our cause in support of freedom. We would prevail.
Paine would turn out to be right in his predictions, but in the early summer of 1776, nobody knew that would be the case. When our founders met, they had to know that on paper, the all-out war a declaration of independence would surely bring about was not one in which the colonists would likely have been picked to prevail. If Vegas had been Vegas in 1776, the American Revolutionary War would have been off the boards completely, or it would have had the colonists as prohibitive longshots.
In addition to the odds being against them, the colonial representatives seemed unfazed by those odds. They were not only being very public in their deliberations, acting out in the open, but doing so in Philadelphia—a port city easily accessed by British naval vessels. Our founding fathers did not go to ground in some desolate and landlocked western Virginia hideaway. Instead, they met in the open, in the war-friendly environs of summer, and next to a waterway to make things as easy for the British as they possibly could.
It is as if our founding fathers stared directly into the whites of the British eyes and said, “Come and get us. We dare you.”
[caption id="attachment_191144" align="aligncenter" width="1920"] Washington Crossing the Delaware.[/caption]
There is no question that up until recently, when teaching our nation’s history has been replaced with the tripe found in the 1619 Project and similar revisionist curricula that focus on the “whiteness” and oppressive nature of colonial America, we celebrated the courage and fortitude of those who fought for our independence. What isn’t emphasized enough about that courage, however, is the when and where of the event—the when and where our founding fathers declared their independence. They hid in plain sight, and in so doing, showed the British that Americans were going to be courageous, down to the very last congressman.
They [the founders] hid in plain sight, and in so doing, showed the British that Americans were going to be courageous, down to the very last congressman.
As Americans in 2021, we are now confronted with the most serious threat we have ever faced against the independence that our founders declared 245 years ago. The threat we face today comes from within our nation, from those who aggressively, and with neither excuse nor apology, seek to undo all of the work that was done on our behalf in the late 18th Century. Like any threat that develops internally, it was not severely symptomatic in its early stages, and many Americans either didn’t notice or ignored it, thinking it would go away on its own. It did not.
Now, like any disease that is late-stage, it is pervasive and growing. The collectivist-Marxist movement is spreading through our country like wildfire. Against this threat, we need to show the courage of our founding fathers and declare that together, we are going to fight back. We have to be willing to take risks.
The final lines of the Declaration of Independence read as follows: “And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.”
We are going to need to make that sort of pledge. To think that we can now fight back without placing ourselves at risk is both naïve and foolish. We waited too long; the time has passed when we could have killed this Marxist movement in its infancy. It is now fully grown and very powerful. Much like the British Empire was back in 1776.
[caption id="attachment_191142" align="aligncenter" width="1920"] The Death of General Mercer at the Battle of Princeton.[/caption]
Staying with Britain for a moment, it was on a near-summer day back on June 4th, 1940, that Winston Churchill, speaking on behalf of the same empire from which we declared our independence over a century-and-a-half earlier, gave his famous, “We shall never surrender” speech. That speech made it clear to Germany that Britain sought no truce. It was an open invitation to fight, an invitation that was accepted formally on July 10th when the German Luftwaffe and the British Royal Air Force began what is known as the Battle of Britain.
One year from today, America is not going to look the same as she does today.
What is not often recognized is that Britain’s unpredictable success in fighting off the Nazi attack dragged out the engagement much longer than Hitler had anticipated. That delay, in turn, delayed the Nazi incursion into Russia, forcing them to start closer to winter. We all know what happened to Nazi soldiers faced with the unpleasantness of Russian winter. Again, summer is a much better time to fight.
Our founders knew that, and they chose their moment in July to issue what amounted to their declaration of war. That was then; this is now.
One year from today, America is not going to look the same as she does today. What she is going to look like remains to be seen. If this doesn’t seem like a convenient time for you to fight back, if it doesn’t feel to you like you are quite ready to place yourself in harm’s way to save our republic, then I encourage you to think of our founding fathers sitting in Philadelphia 245 years ago. I’m sure they had other things they could have been doing besides telling the British to 'come and get them,’ in the best of weather, while sitting on an open waterway.
I am not calling for violence. I am calling for action. It is our time. It is our turn.
This article is part of a Human Events Opinion Special Collection released July 4th, 2021: "INDEPENDENCE DAY 2021." You can read the other pieces in the collection here.