Stewart Rhodes’ Sixth Anniversary Essay
Sixth Anniversary Message From Stewart Rhodes
Founder of Oath Keepers
Happy Birthday Oath Keepers!
Yesterday, April 19, marks the sixth anniversary of the official founding of Oath Keepers. Of course, it also marks the 240th anniversary of the battles of Lexington and Concord on April 19, 1775, where the opening “shot heard round the world” of the American Revolution occurred. Yesterday, I spoke at a Patriots Day rally in Colorado. Mike Vanderboegh, founder of the Three Percenter movement, also spoke. We will get the video from that event up online as soon as we can.
I chose to make the official launch of Oath Keepers on April 19, 2009, on Lexington Green, for a reason – to remind us all of where we have come from, the price Americans have paid from the very start of this Republic, and of the seriousness of our duty to honor our oaths. The blood of patriots was spilled on that Green, and we need to have the same conviction they had, when it comes to carrying out our duty.
As I said yesterday in my speech, I consider April 19, 1775 to be the birthday of our Republic – not July 4, 1776. The Founders Republic was born on April 19, 1775 when the American patriots stood their ground and gave ball for ball. It was born in hot lead, cold steel, and the cries of wounded men, the cries of anger of the patriots, and the cries of fear of the Red Coats as they were chased back to Boston with a swarm of pissed off patriots all around them at every step. That is when this Republic was born. The Declaration of Independence, while clearly momentous and timeless in its statement of principles that form the foundation of our American Creed, was really the birth certificate of our Republic – the official recognition of what had already taken place over a year prior. Once the fighting began at Lexington and Concord, there was no turning back from the course of destiny. The Republic was born, kicking and screaming, and formal independence was really a foregone conclusion. It was going to happen, and nothing was going to change that, once the fighting began.
I chose Lexington Green – a battlefield where patriot blood was spilled in resistance to oppressive government – to found this org because there are obvious parallels to our current situation, where a modern “long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce [us] under absolute Despotism.” We are in much the same position as the patriots were in that time. We are on the eve of conflict with domestic enemies of liberty who are relentless in their pursuit of power over us. That conflict has only grown clearer in the past six years.
I encourage you to reflect carefully and seriously on the events that lead up to the American Revolution, on the events of that day long ago on April 19, and on what came after it – a long, hard-fought war for liberty and independence. And reflect on what our fighting men have gone through since, from Bunker Hill, to Saratoga, to Kings Mountain, Cow Pens, to Yorktown, and on through our history – through the Civil War, and the World Wars – through Iwo Jima, Normandy Beach, the Battle of the Bulge, etc. and on to today. Reflect on the blood they spilled, the youth they gave up, their tears, their courage, their sacrifice. And ask yourself what you are willing to give, and to do, to make sure that all of their suffering and sacrifice is not for nothing. We have an absolute duty to do what we must to preserve the Republic – the liberty – that they gave so much for. Duty is ours. Results are God’s. Let us do our duty.
As I said in my speech yesterday in Colorado, let go of fear and doubt, and focus on your love of country, and your love of your family. For it is love that conquers fear and hatred. And focus on your children and grand-children, and on the reality that our lives are short and fleeting, and all that really matters is that we leave our children and grand-children free. Nothing else matters. That is what the men who fought the Revolution understood. And that is the spirit of resistance to tyranny – the spirit of liberty – that has lit the fire within the hearts of all freedom fighters, in all times, in all places. As the Irish rebel song “Patriot Game” puts it: “The love of one’s country is a terrible thing; it banishes fear with the speed of a flame; and it makes us all part of the Patriot Game.”
Remember the spirit of love that motivated men like Samuel Whittemore – the 80 year old veteran farmer who dropped his plow and picked up his musket to go to war one last time, because he did not want his children and grand-children to be subject to a distant King. Or Isaac Davis, the local gunsmith and militia commander (and father of five young children) who had a premonition that if it came to a fight, he would not survive the battle – and yet he went, and lead his men at Concord bridge, and was one of the first to fall. He understood what really mattered – that he leave his children free.
Happy Patriots Day Oath Keepers, and Happy Birthday Oath Keepers! Take the time today to read about the history of the men who fought at Lexington and Concord, and all along Battle Road, chasing the “Lobster Backs” back to Boston. And then recommit yourself to being a patriot in principle and in deed, today. Recommit to taking the torch of liberty from their hands, and passing it on to the hands of your children.
“If there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my child may have peace.” – Thomas Paine
Founder and President of Oath Keepers
PS – I have been traveling and speaking through four states, but once I return home this week I will be publishing an analysis and statement on the Jade Helm military exercise that has so many Americans worried (and rightly so). I will also post my thoughts on where we are, as a movement, what I see coming, and what we should be doing about it.