Mankind has spent its entire existence in pursuit of Freedom. Even now, around the world, some of us are seeking freedom from bills, and are working hard to pay them off. Some want freedom from their parents and are working hard to move out on their own. Some want the freedom to travel so are working hard to get that promotion at their place of work. Or some want the freedom to do absolutely nothing at all, and have worked hard their whole lives so they can retire. Freedom isn't free. For each measure of individual freedom, there is a price, a sacrifice to be made, and it requires a fanatic devotion to maintain once obtained. Freedom is fleeting and delicate, and when we barter our freedoms, we gain nothing and lose everything.
Oops, that was more dismal than I intended it to be. I really should put up the soapbox.
So close to July 4th for the U.S.A. and July 14th for France, I find it difficult to avoid the more obvious route here. So I've decided not to fight it. We last met Thaddeus here. Paul Revere rode at midnight. The British carried orders to imprison Samuel Adams and John Hancock, and to seize minuteman supplies.
I offer the following in response: A Budding Patriot
The pitched battle yielded the tactical withdrawal of the British Regulars. A latecomer, Thaddeus gripped his primed rifle, straining to see through the smoky haze. Shot peppered the ground around him. The sound of a horse reached his ears and he turned towards its origin, squeezing the trigger as he aimed for its Redcoat rider. He dropped back to the earth, already dispensing a measure of powder into the warm rifle barrel. Ramrod impacting the load, he was back in position, ready to fire.
“Push ‘em hard!” someone cried.
Gun-smoke obscured his vision and sulfur burned his lungs as he breathed through his next round of fire then repeated his reloading ceremony. Powder. Linen. Ball. Ram. Prime the flashpan. Aim. Fire. Hearing someone call out for shot, Thaddeus reflexively checked his pouch. He had three balls left.
Hearing hooves of horses, he plastered himself to the ground behind his berm. Equine shadows thundered over him, the hock of one missing his head by inches. Thaddeus spit the dirt from his mouth and pushed himself up to reload.
Powder. Linen. Ball.
Devil raising bayonet.
Thaddeus ran the few feet to his felled victim. He knelt for a time next to the dying man, unable to move, watching his chest rise and fall in shallow, rapid succession, then shudder to complete stillness. Instinct made Thaddeus divest the redcoat of weapons, shot, and powder. “May angels guide you home,” he whispered, knowing that this death would haunt him as Christopher Seider did.
Awareness resuscitated by a nearby muzzle flash, he reeled to catch his bearings. There were more militiamen beside him, reloading and priming. Thaddeus forgot his kill for the moment, renewed at the sight. The redcoats were vastly outnumbered. Giving chase, the militia was pressing the regulars back towards Boston.
Hope was heavy on the breeze as he realized he wasn’t just there to keep the redcoats from arresting Mr. Adams. His participation was about all of it; Christopher Seider’s death, the massacre, the tea, the taxes, the frustration. No more would he fear customs officers at the harbor. No longer would he yield to a man wearing a red coat. Thaddeus could taste freedom, and he would die before returning to the shackles of oppression. He loaded his rifle, preparing for a new target..