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Happy Fourth of July from Oath Keepers

Happy Fourth of July from Oath Keepers
(credit to REUTERS/Shaun Heasley Pictures of the Month July 2005 Pictures of the year 2005 SH/DH – RTRGH6R).

Happy birthday America!  Today is a great day.  A day of celebration of our Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776.    Earlier today, I received a text from a USMC combat veteran Oath Keeper that read:

A very happy 4th of July.  Our republic needs a lot of help.  Semper Fi. 

To which I replied:

If you’re feeling a bit pessimistic today, just imagine what this 4th of July would be like if Hillary Clinton had “won” the election –  if all her election fraud and 5.7 million illegal alien votes had been enough to nullify the tidal waive of discontent that Trump rode to the White House.   Thankfully, it was not, or you’d likely already be in combat, yet again, you old Devil Dog, but this time on American soil.   So rejoice!   It could be a whole lot worse.  

We truly dodged a bullet with the defeat of Hillary Clinton (whom I dubbed “Hitlery” back in 2008 for very good reason).   We now have a brief respite (sometimes it feels like a temporary stay of execution), in which to work our butts off to secure the blessings of liberty for our posterity before she, or someone worse, has another shot at the “throne” of the imperial presidency with all its grossly expanded power.   But despite our misgivings and concern for the future of our nation, we really should see today as a day of celebration and thanks to God for what we have been given – what was won for us by the blood, sweat, and tears of millions of Americans who came before us.

As John Adams said of this day, in a letter to his wife, Abigail, one day after the signing:

I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.

You will think me transported with Enthusiasm but I am not. — I am well aware of the Toil and Blood and Treasure, that it will cost Us to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States. — Yet through all the Gloom I can see the Rays of ravishing Light and Glory. I can see that the End is more than worth all the Means. And that Posterity will tryumph in that Days Transaction, even altho We should rue it, which I trust in God We shall not.

So, let us do as one of our preeminent Founding Fathers wished us to do.  Let us commemorate this day as a day of deliverance, that by the grace of God they prevailed not just on the field of battle but also in the fight for the hearts and minds of the people.   By the time of the summer of 1776, they had been at war for over a year, and by that point, it was simply too late for reconciliation.   The King had burned his bridges (sometimes literally, along with farm houses and entire towns on the ravages coast of New England), and he had lost the hearts of the people.

It truly was Too Late To Apologize:

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As John Adams also told Abigail in the same letter:

The Hopes of Reconciliation, which were fondly entertained by Multitudes of honest and well meaning tho weak and mistaken People, have been gradually and at last totally extinguished. — Time has been given for the whole People, maturely to consider the great Question of Independence and to ripen their judgments, dissipate their Fears, and allure their Hopes, by discussing it in News Papers and Pamphletts, by debating it, in Assemblies, Conventions, Committees of Safety and Inspection, in Town and County Meetings, as well as in private Conversations, so that the whole People in every Colony of the 13, have now adopted it, as their own Act. — This will cement the Union, and avoid those Heats and perhaps Convulsions which might have been occasioned, by such a Declaration Six Months ago.

But the Day is past. The Second [Fourth] Day of July 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America.

Adams understood that it wasn’t just “fifty six patriots” who had decided on Independence and pledged their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor.   They were but delegates – mere representatives of the people (at least of the patriots.  The loyalist Tories were not consulted).   The people had decided, and had pledged their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor.   Many of them had already been on the field of battle since the Spring of the prior year, and many had already paid the ultimate price.

Frankly, the men who fought on April 19, 1775 had already, on that fateful day, decided on a separation from the King, and signaled their intent with hot led, cold steel, and blood.   With deeds, not words.  Samuel Whittemore, the aged French and Indian War veteran who fought on April 19, 1775 at the age of 78 (ambushing a British column at close range, killing three regulars and then using his sword against their bayonets until he was shot in the face, butt-stroked to the ground and bayoneted), later said he did so because he did not want to leave his children subject to a distant King (yes, the tough old warrior survived his wounds and lived another 18 years!).   As Fred, from the Appleseed Project, so eloquently put it, by their actions, they had kicked open a door into an unknown future, and boldly stepped through.  The patriot warriors – the “Three Percenters” – had decided.  It just took a year for the rest of the people to follow their lead.

Happy Fourth of July from Oath Keepers

Patriots Casting Their “Votes” for Independence on Lexington Green, April 19, 1775

Therefore, we should always remember that this Republic was actually born on April 19, 1775, in deafening gunfire, the clang of American sword against British Regular bayonet, and shouts of anger, fear, and pain, when the embattled farmers stood, and fired the shot heard round the world, and then chased the “lobster backs” all the way back to Boston, where they laid siege, fought the bloody battle of Bunker Hill, placed the guns from Fort Ticonderoga on Dorchester Heights, and finally forced Gage to evacuate his troops from Boston.

The Declaration of Independence, as glorious and momentous as it was, was merely the official recognition – this nation’s birth certificate – but the birth, with all its pains and joys, had already happened.   And war was the midwife.

That is why it is so fitting that we commemorate the birth of this nation with fireworks, since they help us to remember “the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air,” not just as Francis Scott Keys saw it in 1814, but as the men on Lexington Green, Concord Bridge, and Bunker Hill saw it in 1775, and as every generation of American fighting men have seen it since, from Gettysburg, to Belleau Wood, to Midway, Normandy, Bastogne, Guadalcanal, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa, to Inchon and Chosin, to Khe Sanh and Hue, to Baghdad, to Tora Bora, and the Korengal Valley.

As  you spend time with family and friends today, watching the children play, and as you listen to the national anthem and watch fireworks tonight, take a moment to pray for this nation, for all its people, and to remember and honor all those who came before, many of whom died in combat, leaving grieving wives and children behind, or who were so young they never had a chance to know such joys.   Remember them, and honor them by recommitting yourself to preserving what they paid so dearly to secure for you.  The torch has been passed to you, and it is your duty to pass it on, renewed.

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Your answer to the question “O say does that star-spangled banner yet wave, O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?” must be a strong and resolute YES.   Not merely by your words, but by your deeds.  Remember, duty is ours.  Results are God’s.


O thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved homes and the war’s desolation.
Blest with vict’ry and peace, may the Heav’n rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: ‘In God is our trust.’
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!



Stewart Rhodes

Stewart is the founder and National President of Oath Keepers. He served as a U.S. Army paratrooper until disabled in a rough terrain parachuting accident during a night jump. He is a former firearms instructor, former member of Rep. Ron Paul’s DC staff, and served as a volunteer firefighter in Montana. Stewart previously wrote the monthly Enemy at the Gates column for S.W.A.T. Magazine. Stewart graduated from Yale Law School in 2004, where his paper “Solving the Puzzle of Enemy Combatant Status” won Yale’s Miller prize for best paper on the Bill of Rights. He assisted teaching U.S. military history at Yale, was a Yale Research Scholar, and is writing a book on the dangers of applying the laws of war to the American people.



  1. Thank you Stewart. You pulled at my heart strings.This is a true reminder of what we face and must be willing to do. We can do no less than what they did!

  2. What timing to open this while fire works are going off all around my home. I found this video 3 years ago and still love it. Great article Stewart. If you have not written a book yet please do, and enlightened We The People what you have learned about our Constitution, Declaration of Independence and history. Top shelf book for sure.

  3. I fought when I was young, serving from ’68 to ’71 and thankfully came through okay. I am too old now and partially disabled from a stroke now but I continue to fight through the written word. I agree with not only the words here but also with the sentiment. God saved us from hitlery and her evil co-conspirators but the fight is not over by any means. Look to God, pray and repent, but we must also do all we can to do our part to move liberty into the forefront of our nation. Liberty cost many lives and it is up to us to preserve it, with our lives if necessary!!!!! God will be with us but we can’t sit idly by waiting for Him to act. In the Bible the Israelites had to go out and battle, God didn’t let them sit in their tents while He did all the fighting. God was with them, leading them, but the people were out there doing their part and so must we. I am willing to do anything within my capabilities to further the cause of liberty and am doing what I can now.

  4. As a member of the Oath Keepers, and a retired NCO ( U.S Army) , and a Gold Star father…We must all be ready to stand ready to defend our way of life and all that we hold dear … remember the Bill of Rights is the couner Stone that holds our Constitution together … I enjoyed your article…I remember my brothers in arm’s and all we did in order for others to enjoy our freedom s…

  5. Nothing like “Family Time” to recharge the batteries and keep us focused on the “Why” we pledge our lives, fortunes and sacred honor! Great job Stewart! God Bless us all…

  6. Stewart: Your words and actions are inspirational. As the leader of the Tampa Bay Florida Oath Keepers, we strive to follow in the footsteps of our forefathers. God, Country, Family, Community – is what we stand up and fight for. The many Patriots who came before us will not have died in vain for their sacrifices. WE, now stand in their stead and support and protect the Constitution as they provided us. I am Honored to be among my fellow Patriots defending our fragile Republic. Bob B.

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