I recently was fortunate to attend the 239th anniversary of the Battle of Kings Mountain at Kings Mountain National Military Park in South Carolina. I didn’t realize that this battle was the turning point of the Revolutionary War, which secured our freedom as a nation.
This event was well attended by many members of the Sons of the American Revolution, Daughters of the American Revolution, Overmountain Victory Trail Association and other associations. If you don’t know the full story of the Battle of Kings Mountain, spend time researching the history and happenings of Oct. 7, 1780, when it occurred.
The constitutional crisis we find ourselves in today is not unlike the events prior to and during our war for freedom during the American Revolution. We are a country divided along political ideologies, socio-economic status, race and gender relationships. We find ourselves bombarded by TV commentators, social media, twitter, websites and newspapers telling us what we should believe and how we should act as citizens.
As the anniversary program developed Monday morning in front of the monument dedicated to this battle for independence, I was immediately drawn to the comments of John Slaughter, master of ceremonies and group superintendent of the Southern Campaign of the American Revolutionary Parks.
His comments were something every American should hear and I asked him after the program if he minded sharing them so others might learn this valuable lesson that I believe will aid in preserving our own freedom during the perilous time.
Slaughter’s address to those gathered on Kings Mountain included:
“Welcome compatriots. Who are you? Where are you from? Why are you here? These three questions are wrestled with by every human at some point in their life. Often the answer to at least one, if not all three is found in our connection to the past.
“Whether you are a potential first generation American perhaps waiting your turn in a line to raise your right hand and pledge allegiance to this nation as a brand-new citizen, or your native ancestors were displaced as a result of the founding of this nation or maybe you are a 10th generation American that can trace your ancestors back to the Revolution or the Mayflower.
“In any case, our past and inherent connection to our ancestors makes us a part of the U.S. Longing to know those ancestors is a part of who we are. ‘Where are you from?’ is a question that can take many forms. ‘Why are you here?’ Is it to celebrate your ancestor? Is it to commemorate this turning point of the Revolutionary War? Maybe it’s to stand beside folks you know have a similar love of nation?
“It is my hope that the question, ‘Why are you here,’ is more about how are you going to make a difference? How are you going to serve your fellow humans? Most importantly, I hope you ask ‘what did someone else sacrifice or support so you can stand here and even have these thoughts?’ Today we celebrate and commemorate men and women of all races who fought for the founding of our nation and specifically those who blazed a trail to victory 239 years ago.
“When you ask these questions of yourself, consider those men and women of 239 years ago and contemplate, what was their why? Ask yourself, are we honoring their why, as individuals, as a heritage group or as a nation? If we are honest, often the answer will be ‘not well enough.’ However, we can do better.
“Our founding documents don’t say we are a perfect people. We are, however, called to ‘form a more perfect union.’ That is my asking of you - do your part to find your own ‘why,’ so that we might eventually achieve that perfect union.
“Are you as a citizen here to divide us or join in continuing our freedom?”
North Wilkesboro, N.C.