New birth of freedom
By Trent Loos
Each year, as our nation celebrates Independence Day, my family is doing the same thing: heat checking and artificially inseminating cows. As June rolls to a close and for about two weeks, every morning at sunrise I am sitting in the saddle listening the birds sing, watching an occasional gobbler strut and hoping for a cow on two legs.
As I get older I become a better student of history. So this very morning as I am enjoying the various sights and sounds of nature around me, it dawned on me the importance of this day in our nation’s history.
It was 150 years ago on July 1, 1863, in Adams County, Pa., that a battle took place during the Civil War at Gettysburg. After three days of the most intense fighting the war had seen, 50,000 men lost their lives.
Whether you believe it was about state’s rights or the end of slavery or both doesn’t really matter. What matters is that those men died for a purpose and today, as a result, we have the strongest, most-free nation in the world to call home: the United States of America.
Meanwhile, back here at the ranch, I would argue that the lifestyle my family chooses is the most iconic of all when it comes to the symbol of freedom. All things associated with a horse are tied to freedom. The freedom of the feeling of sitting in the middle of section of land you owns with the cows you own and the freedom to use them and produce food as you see fit.
Every single day you and I, who so value those freedoms, grow more concerned about the erosion of what we hold dear as citizens—our rights. The truth of the matter is that we do not truly have the freedom to use our land and animals as we once did without social pressures. In fact, our mere survival in our chosen profession is without question more dependent on our neighbors and our association with others in our industry than ever before.
Gen. Robert E. Lee of the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia made the decision to make a bold move to take the North on their own soil. The North, led by Major Gen. George Meade, out-flanked them and pushed the wounded back south with a wagon train of wounded that was 17 miles long. Keep in mind that the Battle of Gettysburg occurred in the middle of the four-year war, but without question it was the turning point. It is reported that Gen. Robert E. Lee was constantly on the defensive from that point until his surrender in spring of 1865.
Folks, we have an attack again today on the very freedoms we celebrate as a nation of independent citizens. No matter how much we dislike the fact, some of our freedoms as farmers, ranchers and citizens will only be preserved with our forces teaming up strategically. I hope we all give some serious thought to the long-term plan of this nation in order to preserve what so many before us have sacrificed to create.
“It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”—Abraham Lincoln
Happy Independence Day, America!
Editor’s note: Trent Loos is a sixth generation United States farmer, host of the daily radio show, Loos Tales, and founder of Faces of Agriculture, a non-profit organization putting the human element back into the production of food. Get more information at www.FacesOfAg.com, or email Trent at firstname.lastname@example.org.