By Tom Quiner
How would you like to be remembered for these last words:
“I only regret that I have but one life to give for my country.”
These are reputed to be the last words spoken by an American patriot, Nathan Hale, during the Revolutionary War.
Only 21 years of age at the time of his hanging at the hands of the British, Mr. Hale’s name still resonates for his unabashed courage and devotion to country in the face of death.
A British officer on the scene, Frederick MacKensie, recorded these words in his diary regarding Mr. Hale’s death:
“He behaved with great composure and resolution, saying he thought it the duty of every good Officer, to obey any orders given him by his Commander-in-Chief; and desired the Spectators to be at all times prepared to meet death in whatever shape it might appear.”
A newspaper, the Essex Journal, wrote about Mr. Hale’s death the next year on February 13th, 1777:
“However, at the gallows, he made a sensible and spirited speech; among other things, told them they were shedding the blood of the innocent, and that if he had ten thousand lives, he would lay them all down, if called to it, in defence of his injured, bleeding Country.”
Mr. Hale’s courage and love of country was very much in the tradition of President John F. Kennedy’s ringing words:
“Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”
Would MR EBT, about whom I wrote in yesterday’s post, have any idea what the Nathan Hale’s and John F. Kennedy’s are talking about?
In fact, how many Americans can relate to that kind of altruistic thinking anymore?
All the more reason to honor Nathan Hale on this anniversary of his death.