When I had to read The Iliad and The Odyssey in high school, it was so irritating because I felt like I was jumping into a story right in the middle. There were so many back stories alluded to within the first few pages of The Iliad that I took advantage of the encyclopedia (and an occasional Wikipedia page) and started looking up all those oddly-named characters, just so I could make sense of it all.

Well, I kinda had to do that again this past week. Our family is watching Star Wars for what my dad calls “Worldview Class”–that is to say, so that we can evaluate the worldview and see where the filmmakers borrowed from Christianity and/or pagan religions.

So it’s school. I promise.

But it’s also downright FUN and my brother, sister, and I just about can’t bear the excitement and the suspense!

Anyway, it’s the same with Greek mythology: sometimes you feel like you’ve jumped into the middle of a story and you have to look things up, otherwise it doesn’t make sense. I did that this weekend, and now feel pretty confident that I know what’s going on.

But in my “research” I found a little gem, and it’s been running around in my head for the past couple of days. You see, in Episode 3: Revenge of the Sith (which is really the sixth one made, but that’s a long story…) Queen Padme Amidala witnesses the overthrow of her beloved Galatic Republic by the evil Emperor Palpatine. The Emperor informs the Senate that he’s taken their power in order to form a new Galactic Empire. How does the Senate respond?

With cheering.

Padme, grief-stricken and horrified, then utters nine poignant, harrowing words:

“So this is how liberty dies–with thunderous applause.”

It reminded me of the quote from Benjamin Franklin in which he said

“They that can give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty or safety.”

Today is also the 101st birthday of Ronald Reagan, who once said that

Freedom is a fragile thing and is never more than one generation away from extinction. It is not ours by inheritance; it must be fought for and defended constantly by each generation, for it comes only once to a people. Those who have known freedom, and then lost it, have never known it again.

Liberty is a precious thing that must not be sacrificed for the sake of peace, affluence, or security. Its loss is a tragic thing, and not one to be met with “thunderous applause.” But rather

Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect everyone who approaches that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright force. Whenever you give up that force, you are inevitably ruined.” —Patrick Henry

Think on some of these sobering quotes I found this morning. May they spur us on to perseverance and courage in the coming weeks and months.

“Despotism can be a development, often a late development and very often indeed the end of societies that have been highly democratic. A despotism may almost be defined as a tired democracy.” —G.K. Chesterton

“A government that is big enough to give you all you want is big enough to take it all away.” —Barry Goldwater

“Give me liberty to know, to think, to believe, and utter freely, according to conscience, above all other liberties.”–John Milton

“Given man’s nature, freedom will always be in jeopardy, and the only question that need concern each of us is if and how well we took our stand in its defense during the short period of time when we were potentially a part of the struggle.”–Benjamin Rogge

“Is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death!“–Patrick Henry

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