Sunday, July 3, 2011

Should I Go to Church This Morning?

As an American, it's easy to take freedom for granted. I have never had to decide if I should go to a protest and risk my life or stay home and play it safe. I can go to whatever church I want to or I can skip this morning and watch First Baptist on TV and no one is going to pound on my door and haul me away to prison.

When reading about the protests in Egypt and other Middle Eastern countries, I look in their faces and wonder about their lives and what traits and similarities they have with the colonists and patriots who fought for American independence from England during The Revolutionary War.

In the last 16 weeks, hundreds have been killed in Syria and just yesterday more than 400,000 poured into the streets to demonstrate.

And from just a few weeks ago:
BEIRUT (AP) — Syrian security forces fired on thousands of protesters Friday, killing a teenage boy and at least 15 other civilians as accounts emerged of more indiscriminate killing and summary executions by the autocratic regime of President Bashar Assad, activists said.

The three-month uprising has proved stunningly resilient despite a relentless crackdown by the military, the pervasive security forces and pro-regime gunmen. Human rights activists say more than 1,400 Syrians have been killed and 10,000 detained as Assad desperately tries to maintain his grip on power.

"What is our guilt? We just demanded freedom and democracy nothing else," said Mohamed, 27, who spoke to The Associated Press from a refugee camp in neighboring Turkey where nearly 10,000 Syrians have fled.
I have been able to find a few revolutionary patriots in my family tree and Independence Day is certainly a great time to remember them and all those who stood up and fought for their own rights as well as for freedom for those who would come after them (that's us).

Thomas Littleton Joyner - My Fifth Great Grandfather
Born in Northampton, NC in 1762, during the Revolutionary War, he fought as a private in the North Carolina militia. He also furnished supplies for the army and is listed in the DAR database as having served 84 months.
More about Thomas and the Joyner Family

Mary Kerr Dougan - My Fifth Great Grandmother
Mary was wife of Thomas Hill Dougan. He played a part in the early years of the revolution but died in 1769. While I have not been able to find much about her, she was close friends with Martha "Mattie" Bell who was very active in the war. My fifth great grandmother is mentioned in a quote about the women of the war in "Reminiscences of Randolph County" by J. A. Blair:
"The name of Mary Dougan, Elizabeth Balfour, Jane Millikan, Ruth Farlow, Nancy Clark, Mattie Bell and others should be held in lasting veneration as the heroines of Randolph County in the struggle for liberty and life. It was these noble women and their compeers who molded opinion and shaped the thought and sentiment that directed the march of progress."
More about Mary and the Dougan Family

Charles Lovelace - My Fifth Great Grandfather
According to "Revolutionary Patriots of Frederick County, Maryland, 1775-1783" by Henry C. Peden, Charles Lovelace served in the militia of Maryland. Several years later he settled land in Rowan County, North Carolina and was one of the earliest settlers of that area. It's not certain if it was before or after their marriage but, at some point after his father died, his mother married his wife's father, Thomas his father-in-law was also his step-father.
More about Charles and the Lovelace Family

Colonel Leonard, Thomas and Horatio Marbury - My Seventh Great Uncles
Leonard served in the Revolutionary War for seven years as a Colonel. He fought in the Georgia Militia at the Siege of Savannah in September and October 1779. Colonel Leonard Marbury was present at the Battle of Brier Creek on March 3, 1779 and is mentioned on the Georgia Historic marker at the battlefield.
“On February 28, 1779, General Bryant, left in charge of the American forces, moved the camp up the creek, for security, to near this spot…He ordered Col. Leonard Marbury to take a position at Paris` Mill, 14 miles up the creek… Col. Prevost led the main force of the British army, about 1,500 men, up the west side of Brier Creek…he soon encountered Col. Marbury's Dragoons, cutting them off from Ashe`s forces. He captured some, while others succeeded in getting safely across Burton`s Ferry.”
His younger brother Thomas served in the Revolutionary War as a private under Col. James McNeil.
The youngest brother in the family, Horatio was active in the Revolutionary War and in 1796 began working in the secretary of state's office. In 1799, the legislature elected Marbury as Georgia's second secretary of state -- a post he would hold for twelve years under six different governors.
More about them and the Marbury Family

John Jr. and Hardy Yelverton - my Sixth and Fifth Great Grandfathers
John Jr. was likely living in Chowan County, NC when the war began in 1775. He was 54 years old and although he was very wealthy, at least one document lists him as a "cord winder" which is the trade of shoe making. His DAR application lists his service as "rendering material aid." Perhaps he made shoes for the soldiers? His son, Hardy's DAR application lists his service as "oath of allegiance to make land entry." Both were settlers of the Wayne County, NC area.
More about them and the Yelverton Family

I will go to church this morning and include a prayer of thanks for all those who came before and have allowed me to have the life I have.

This afternoon I'll put our American flag out on the porch and think about all those around the world who are fighting and risking their lives to have the freedom that I too often take for granted.

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