As I’ve watched the African nation of Libya undergo revolution and overthrow its former leader, Muammar Gaddafi, I’ve been thinking about my own nation’s revolution. I, just like most Americans learned all about our countries battle for independence from the king of England. Even though I learned about the key players and events that characterized the American Revolution, it wasn’t until I watched Libya’s that I began thinking about what it would have been a first-hand witness in the 1770’s and 1780’s.
What would it have been like to read of the Battle of Bunker Hill in the Sunday paper or be in the audience when Patrick Henry gave his famous “Give me liberty or give me death” speech? What would it have been like to live in a town that was stormed by the British or recaptured by the revolutionaries? These are all questions that I’ve asked myself. Of course, if I had been living in that time period as a 23 year old, I would have been fighting for my state. I could see myself facing a menacing imperial force alongside my fellow soldiers fighting with all we had. I envision fending off the harsh winters with limited supplies or being far away from home during the hot summers. Most of all, I’d imagine that it would be pretty exciting to fight for a brand new country.
I wonder how the Libyan rebels must be feeling right now. Do they have a sense of excitement about what lies ahead? I’m sure they do, but I also know that there is probably a very difficult road that lies ahead. America didn’t get to where it is today over night. Hundreds of years have passed and we are still in the midst of this “great experiment called democracy.” Those centuries have been littered with social movements, invention, war, division, unity, and more.
Perhaps you’ve had similar thoughts about the Libyan revolution. Maybe you’ve even wondered what it would have been like to be a part of your own country’s revolution. If you have, I invite you to share your thoughts like I have.