On April 19, 1775, the British Army moved into formation and marched out of Boston. Their destination was Concord, Mass., where they planned to destroy a rebel arsenal.

The call went out across the region by the likes of Paul Revere, and an alarm was sounded. This call to arms rallied thousands of militiamen to the fight that began that day.

Within a week, more than 16,000 men were assembled in the basic formation of an army. In June, the Continental Congress took over and the Continental Army was born. It seemed as if the British would have to face every able-bodied man in the colonies.

But one factor of the human condition began to arise—a single thing that has been the truth since the dawn of time. When times got tough, many people walked away. As members of the army began to understand how difficult and dangerous this would be, their newfound bravery began to wane.

With an experienced and keen mind, the leader of the new army, George Washington, expressed concerns, “After the first emotions are over,” those who were willing to serve from a belief in the “goodness of the cause” would amount to little more than “a drop in the ocean.” He knew that these men had rushed to enlist when hostilities began, but had no stomach for a prolonged war. So, as the Declaration of Independence was penned, it would ultimately be defended by approximately 3 percent of the new American population.

The United States owes an enormous debt of gratitude to those who are willing to meet the challenges this great country faces. We can all take a lesson in courage and commitment from those who fought and died so that this country could become the greatest on Earth.

Independence Day is much more than the celebration of our declared liberty from tyranny. It is a celebration of courage, honor and selflessness that defines the United States of America.

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