The achievements of the American Revolution rest on the victory of the revolutionaries in an armed struggle. Men in arms won our independence. They made the establishment of our republic possible. Their eight-year war against a powerful foe is the epic that forged our national identity. They dedicated our nation to liberty and natural rights through their courage and their sacrifices.
Americans must never forget those facts. The battlefields where those brave Americans fought and died to secure our liberty are powerful reminders of their courage and idealism. We need those reminders.
Battlefields give us a chance to understand how our War for Independence was fought and won in a way that documentary evidence alone can never provide. They are tangible reminders of the epic struggle that created our national identity—scenes of triumph and tragedy where our shared history took shape. They remind us what ordinary people—laborers and tradesmen, fishermen and farmers, young and old—can achieve together when they dedicate themselves to a cause greater than themselves.
The battlefields of our War for Independence remind us that the people who fought for our liberty were real, and that their struggles happened, not in distant legend but in particular places under unique circumstances. Walking the ground where they walked and the fields over which they fought offers us the only way we have to walk with them. It gives us an opportunity to recover a part of their experience, and to imagine their fear, their courage and their determination.
They are hallowed ground, where men gave their lives for freedom, for one another and for us. They have much to teach us about our shared past. They are places for sadness and study, quiet pilgrimage and celebration. All that we have been, all that we are and all that we might be as a people is rooted in these places, where daring people fought for liberty.