As an American, there are few things I love more than celebrating freedom. Sometimes a victory comes with the pull of the trigger, the raising of a white flag or the stroke of a pen. And, while I prefer victories to come without bloodshed I am always and forever grateful to those who sacrifice their hearts, minds and bodies for freedom.
- The Battles of Lexington & Concord
On April 19th, 1775 the first gun battle between Great Britain and all thirteen (13) colonies occurred. The first shot was fired at the crack of dawn in Lexington. This is the battle which Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote in the Concord Hymn as the “shot heard round the world.”
- The Siege of Yorktown
The Siege of Yorktown is where Lord Cornwallis surrendered in 1781. His surrender is what caused the British Crown to finally recognize Americans as Independent.
- Emancipation Proclamation
January 1, 1863 brought forth the biggest victory this country has seen since America came to be. It declared that in the ten states that had joined with the Confederacy all slaves were freed and could be granted paid service into the Union army. This was a small victory since it did not apply to all states and territories, but it was a start toward the freeing of all people.
- Operation Neptune or D-Day
June 6th, 1944 became known as D-Day which marked the entry of American soldiers into the European War. With American’s military involvement, the European War became a World War which involved people from over 30 countries. The America’s involvement coincided with the turn and eventual victory of the war despite suffering heavy losses and casualties on Omaha Beach.
- The Battle of the Bulge
The Battle of the Bulge was from December 16, 1944 until January, 25th, 1945. It was the bloodiest battle Americans had seen in WWII with 19,000 killed. It also destroyed the German air force which they were unable to recover from. This battle included savage revenge too.
On the 17th of December, German SS soldiers opened fire on POWs who had surrendered. Most were killed where they stood, but some escaped and spread the word through the lines which became known as the Malmedy Massacre. On New Years Day, 1945, near Chenogne, American soldiers shot and killed about 60 German POWs.
This battle was a victory due to the severe damage done to Hitler’s plans and army. With the loss of his air force and the destruction of his reserves, Hitler/Nazi Germany surrendered on May 8th, 1945.
- Brown v Board of Education
On May 17th, 1954 the United States Supreme Court ruled, unanimously, that separate schools for whites and blacks were entirely unequal and declared de jure racial segregation a violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment of the United States Constitution. With this ruling, the Civil Rights Movement gained a huge victory. Unfortunately, racism has not been removed from the hearts of all Americans.
I hope you would take a moment and say thank you to those who have fought, bled and/or died for freedom. There is honor in willing to stand for what you believe in. I only wish we would look back and learn from our past and that we remember.
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Another great installment of the ABC’s of American History series. Have you missed a few? Check out the entire series below: