His name was Nate. He was a school teacher. At only 19 years old, he had already finished all of his education. He had a full and adventurous life in front of him, the world was at his feet. Those who knew Nate said that he was kind, gentle, athletic, intelligent, a godly young man.  Nate had everything.

And then came the war. There was no draft, no requirement, an all volunteer army, nothing to force him, nothing to get Nate off his track, except one thing -DUTY. Nate felt a strong sense of duty. So, Nate joined up to fight. And he became one of the first in our America to feel that duty, that great yearning for freedom, for peace, and the willingness to put his very life on the line to serve, to fight, to protect.

And just where do all of our “Nates” come from? They are school teachers, factory workers, bankers, accountants, nurses, farmers, they come from all walks of life – but they have this one thing in common – “They love America”. It was patriot Daniel Webster who said “when it comes to our feeling for our nation, our love for America, let our object be our country, our whole country, and nothing but our country. And by the blessings of God, may our country become a vast and splendid monument. Not of oppression and terror, but of wisdom, of peace, and of liberty upon which the world may gaze with admiration forever”. And that’s the feeling we should all have for our nation, America.

So just what became of our school teacher, Nate? Our young American patriot who felt the call of duty? This young man who had everything going for him, his future and the world at his feet – what happened to Nate? He joined in the cause for freedom. Not long after joining he was moved to the rank of 1st Lieutenant of his 7th Connecticut regiment. Then, when his commanding officer formed an elite group of Rangers, now 21 year old Nate volunteered.

But what was really needed was a brave volunteer to act as a spy, to go behind enemy lines, to get certain information crucial to an American victory. And, once again, the call of duty, and, once again, Nate  answered the call. Even though a captured spy would see certain and immediate death; there would be no trial, no board or jury, nothing but an immediate hanging – but Nate answered the call. He slipped behind enemy lines, and disguised as a school teacher looking for work, he set out to gather the information needed by his commander.

He got the needed information, and with information in hand, on September 21, 1776, Nate attempted to cross back out of enemy territory and, somehow, he was found out, arrested, and, yes, sentenced to hang the very next day.

That next day, September 22, 1776, this young 21 year old patriot, Nate, Nathan Hale, stood on the gallows ready to be hanged.  Those in attendance later testified saying “He behaved with great composure and resolution, saying he thought it the duty of every good soldier to obey the orders given by his commander in chief . He exhorted the spectators there to at all times be prepared to meet death in whatever shape it may appear”.

Nathan  Hale’s final words before hanging? “I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country”. Then Nathan Hale was hanged. His body was left hanging for several days near the site of his execution for all to see; later, he was buried in an unmarked grave. It was reported that George Washington, his commander in chief, when he heard the news of this brave young man’s death – George Washington wept.

And there you have it – a seemingly insignificant school teacher, never wrote anything important, never owned any property, never had a permanent job, never married, never had children, and failed in his last mission. But yet he is remembered – why?  Duty.  Duty. And today each of us has a duty.

Today, this day, what will you do with your own Duty?

About Jerry Stewart

I am a story teller. Since 1998, I have been telling the true stories of our nation and those Americans gone before us.  To say the least, these stories have been well received by Americans, both young and old.  So, here’s where the stories have taken me.  In 1998, I was broadcasting my stories on just one radio station in Washington State.  Today, from Texas 15 years later, these programs are now broadcast through a syndicated radio network to over 400 radio stations all across America, with literally millions of listeners.

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“The Most Famous Tea Party in History”

    We’ve all heard of the Boston Tea Party, but few really know just what happened. The year was 1763 and Great Britain had just ended a war known as the “Seven Years War”, and this war had driven the British government so deep into debt that a series of tax laws were passed to help pay that debt – and these laws made their way to America.

Now, the way the colonists saw it was that they had no say or representation in their national government, and, therefore, Parliament had no right to tax them. This is where the saying came from, “no taxation without representation”.

Well, in 1766, Parliament passed what is called the “Declaratory Act”. This act gave the British government the authority to legislate the laws and rules for the American colonies, and in all cases the government had the final authority.

So, colonist groups began to organize at the grassroots level and they formed patriotic clubs and organizations known as the “Sons of Liberty”. They would use these club meetings to talk through their unfair circumstances and they began to send delegates and representatives to the British leaders to try and convince them that what they were doing was not for the good of the people. But the British government had their own ideas as to what was best for the people, so most of the time they would not even listen.

Starting to sound a little too familiar?


    So as the different Liberty groups in each city began to form and grow, they found themselves linking up with other city groups causing them to become bolder in their speaking out. In the City of Boston there was a famous elm tree where the Sons of Liberty would meet. This tree came to be known as the “Liberty Tree” and it became a rallying point for the growing colonist resistance against the British rule. Soon each city and community began to pick their own liberty tree as a meeting spot as a symbol of their individual liberty. As these liberty groups began to me in large numbers and the attendance began to grow, in their attempt to stop these meetings, the British government ordered that holding any meetings not authorized by the government was against the law. So, the Sons of Liberty members began to meet in secret.

Well, the struggle continued between the colonists and the British government with more and more laws being enacted. What seemed to be the final straw was that in 1773, a new act, the “Tea Act” was passed, placing a heavy tax on all tea transported to the colonies. Shortly after the Tea Act was passed, a number of ships entered Boston Harbor carrying on board hundreds of thousands of pounds of tea. When the local liberty group heard of the ship’s arrival, they sent a message to the ship’s captain not to unload the tea because they would not pay that tax. But the local British authorities would not budge, so there sat the three ships in Boston Harbor.

Now no one knows for sure who really planned that “tea party” or who the real leaders were, but one night somewhere between 30 and 130 Men thinly disguised as Indians boarded the three ships and, over the course of three hours, dumped all the tea into the harbor – this dumping of that tea became known as the “Boston Tea Party”. Interestingly enough, later that Tea Act was actually repealed, but the damage had already been done, and the people had determined that their government would not listen to them – and they began to move for independence.

So, here’s my question for you, “Are the events in our lives which make us wake up and act – are they good or bad?” It was patriot, Edmund Burke, who said, “He who wrestles with us strengthens our nerves and sharpens our skills; our antagonist is our helper”.

But this one thing we do know – if the British government had not pushed the colonists too far, well, today, we might still be speaking with a British accent.

And one last thought, “What should “We The People” be doing today if we feel we are not being heard?

And are mere protests enough? You tell me.

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