As we honor the veterans who have fought on the battlefields of war, let us also honor and remember those veterans who have fought on the battlefields of justice, equality and freedom.
On December 2, 1859, John Brown was led to his execution. Louisa M. Alcott on that day christened him, "Saint John the Just." On that same day, Longfellow wrote: "This will be a great day in history; the date of a new revolution, quite as much needed as the old one. Even now as I write, they are leading Old John Brown to execution in Virginia for attempting to rescue slaves! This is sowing the wind to reap the whirlwind, which will come soon."
On that day, the day that John Brown was hanged in Charlestown, Virginia, Thoreau said; "Some eighteen hundred years ago Christ was crucified. This morning perchance, Captain Brown was hung. These are two ends of a chain which is not without its links. He is not Old John Brown any longer, he is an angel of light."
With every drop of his honest blood John Brown hated slavery, and in his early life he resolved to lay his life on Freedom's altar in wiping out the affliction of slavery. He never faltered, so God-like was his unconquerable soul that he dared to face the world alone. His great heart was set upon a higher objective, and a loftier ambition. His grand soul was illuminated by sublime ideal. A race of human beings, despised and dismissed, were in chains, and this malignant crime was destroying the heart of civilization.
From the beginning of his career to its close John Brown had but one idea and one ideal, that was to destroy chattel slavery, and in that cause he sealed his devotion with his noble blood.
Who shall be our modern-day John Brown of wage slavery?
The Grand Old Woman of the revolutionary movement was the appropriate title given to Mother Jones. From the time of the Pullman Strike on May 11 to July 20 in 1894, she first came into prominence. Four thousand factory workers walked out after their wages were cut, with thirty workers dying. This brave woman fought the battles of the oppressed with a heroism more exalted than ever sustained a soldier upon the field of carnage. For many weary months she lived amid the most desolate regions of West Virginia, organizing the starving miners, sharing her meagre staples with their families, nursing the sick. She was a true minister of mercy.
In the Colorado strikes Mother Jones was feared, as was no other, by the criminal corporations. She was as feared by them as she was loved by the sturdy miners she led again and again in the face of overwhelming odds. When her snow-white crown of hair was seen, the despairing slaves took newfound courage and fought again with all their waning strength against the embattled foe. She had won her way into the hearts of the country's labor forces, and her name was revered at the altar of their humble firesides and will be forever lovingly remembered by their children and their children's children.
Who shall be our modern-day Mother Jones of justice?
No man has ever written more personal letters, throbbing with the ascending song of life, clearly revealing the inner and spiritual processes of growth, than Eugene Debs, whose acknowledged conscious kinship to the manifestations of the universe never ends. Whoever has brushed with his magnetism has never forgotten the experience. They became quickly conscious of standing in the presence of a fearless teacher for truth.
Who shall be our modern-day Eugene Debs, the fearless speakers of telling truth to the tyranny of power?
Following the election of 2020, and the election of our new sought-after hope, let's all progress to become veterans in bringing about the single most important quality needed to resist evil, the establishment of moral autonomy, that the corporate state has set out to destroy.