‘Give me liberty or give me death’ … on this day in 1775

Patrick Henry 1By Lynn R. Mitchell

On this day in 1775 Virginia patriot Patrick Henry stood in St. John’s Church in Richmond and spoke the words that still ring out today:

Gentlemen may cry, “Peace! Peace!” — but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death!

The entire speech can be found here.

As a young student in Chesterfield County, I memorized Patrick Henry’s Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death speech in fourth grade while studying Virginia history. Those powerful words have stayed with me throughout my life.

On March 11, 2007, Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling visited the Augusta County area for our monthly SWAC breakfast, and I was the recipient of his “Patrick Henry Award,” something that was very special to me. Even today I am thankful to him for that moment in time.

Today the words still ring out, “Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery?”

Those who walked before us light the pathway even now at this time in history….

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