It is July the 4th.  For Americans it is a day filled with BBQ's, parades, 5k runs, family gatherings, and in the culmination of the day, fireworks will  streak the sky in possibly every city across the nation.
I often wonder how many of all those millions of Americans caught up in the revelry ever stop to think  of  those brave young men, who grabbed there muskets and ran when called upon. 
The average militiaman for the American Revolution were farmers, they had fields to tend, livestock  to feed most probably raising a family so that they would eventually have extra hands to help them with these chores. 
 Many of them lived on the edge of the wilderness, which in 1775 meant that there were large active communities of Native Americans nearby.  The relationships were not always friendly and leaving a mother and several children alone on a farm in the wilderness was not a safe thing to do.  
But they came, they came with the clothes on their backs and a musket in their hands, they organized from town to town, lists were made, Captains and Colonels were chosen and together this rag tag, mish mash of farmers, and craftsman, and business men fought and defeated  one the greatest Empires in the world.  

I am so pleased to speak these names and write them here:

Abel Bagley  My 6th Great Grandfather  Born July 4th!!    in Amesbury Massachusetts was among the number that fought at Lexington and Concord, he fought with Capt Joseph Pages Co for 19 1/2 day before returning home.  Abel would  give three more years to  the Continental Army.

Thomas Pearson  My 5th Great Grandfather  born in Newbury Massachusetts and living in Durham Maine by 1770, he enlisted on June 25th 1778 and was stationed in Rhode Island for six months.  Looking at my records he left his wife in the frontier of Durham Maine with 5 children under the age of 18.  

Benjamin Cilley  My 4th Great Grandfather born in Gorham Maine 1761 and enlisted at the age of 18. He served three years under Capt Abner Wade of Colonel M. Jacksons regiment. 

William Cilley  My 5th Great Grandfather born in Kingston New Hampshire 1734.
He served as a seaman on the brig "Freedom" under Capt John Clouston Massachusetts sea service.

I have only recently met you all, and wish so deeply that I could meet you in the flesh.  My outlook on myself, who I am, what I am, has changed so much since learning about your lives.  How does a family of 8 move all they own from Newbury Massachusetts over 100 miles to Durham Maine threw the wilderness ?  Did you know what was about to spring from your brave acts?   The birth of an entirely  new government, a new nation ?  
Thank you all for your bravery and belief in a grand idea that took hold and is thriving still almost 250 years later. 

I promise to find you, where you are laying at rest, where you may have once lived, possibly even one of your ancestors so I can thank  them personally.  I will never forget you, I will share you with each following generation so that your names will be a beacon to hold up on this glorious holiday when we celebrate the birth of our nation.

With Love,
 Your distant grand daughter 
Anna Gretta

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