The deepest, most profound desire of the human heart is that of freedom. It is at the core of our nature as human beings who have been made in the image of the Creator and blessed not just with capacious intellects, but conscience and free will. It is so central to our nature that it is rightly understood to be an essential human need, not just a want. It is absolutely necessary for our pursuit of happiness.
This is why all peoples will willingly sacrifice for freedom, sometimes even laying down their precious lives in order to gain it, defend it, or preserve it for themselves, their families, their neighbors, and their nation.
American history began from this universal desire to be free. American settlers wanted freedom from the oppressive and tyrannical force of English rule and the political and economic abuses forced on them by King George III and the English Parliament. The desire for freedom was so great that the American colonists risked everything—their lives and their treasure—to be free to govern themselves, to make their own way in the world.
The American Revolutionary War was fought and won, and those original thirteen colonies became the newest and, arguably, the freest nation on earth at the time, in political terms. But within that reality there lay the greatest of ironies and the most contradictory of realities. While freedom was fought for and won for most Americans, there was an already established economic institution of chattel slavery that denied not just the freedom but the humanity of half a million human beings living and laboring in this newly freed nation at that same time.
And still, the soul-deep desire for freedom burned in the hearts of those enslaved human beings. Here again, we encounter a great irony, for hundreds of free and enslaved Blacks fought willingly for the freedom of America from England in the Revolutionary War. The ever constant and living hope of those who fought was that maybe they too would be freed to enjoy the promises of Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness and the equality of all men that was articulated in the Declaration of Independence.
But that was not to be immediately so. Because of that “peculiar institution,” the nation would experience the bloodiest test of freedom in its history, the Civil War. The reality is that Blacks, both slave and free would fight for the nation’s liberty again and again, in the War of 1812 and then again in the Civil War. And the reason has always been the same: the desire for freedom.
This video is a very comprehensive and well-done overview of the history of African American service in the military of the United States of America from its beginning to the present. It is a long history of sacrifice, of dedication to duty and to the love of freedom. It is a history full of courage and long-suffering endurance. That story is full of incredible examples of heroism and self-sacrifice and, against all the odds, love of country. It is a story full of nobility, dignity, and honor.
This video shows that dedication to freedom by African American Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Coast Guardsmen, and Marines throughout the entire length of our American history. From the death of Crispus Attucks in Boston in 1775, among the first Americans to fall in the War for Independence, to the segregated Colored Regiments of the Civil War and the Buffalo Soldiers of the 9th Cavalry who led the charge up San Juan Hill in the Spanish American War, to the Tuskegee Airmen of WWII, to the integrated military of Korea and Vietnam, and up to the present. It is an awesome story of love of freedom and love of country.
The Veterans Site honors the history of freedom that our nation stands for and the memory of all those who fought and continue to fight for it. There is nothing more precious than freedom and the responsibilities that go along with it. May we continue to grow in that love of freedom for all human beings who, as our Founding Fathers declared, “are all created equal and endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, and among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.”