The Ashes of Our Fathers

“Then out spake brave Horatius,
The Captain of the Gate:
To every man upon this earth
Death cometh soon or late.
And how can man die better
Than facing fearful odds,
For the ashes of his fathers,
And the temples of his gods”

Thomas Babington Macaulay

I have been trying for some days to get my head around what it is I want to say in this particular essay. I grow weary of endless discussion and pointless speculation about the current condition of this country. A different voice whispers in my ear. A different picture forms in my mind’s eye.

An increasing number of my countrymen, it seems, no longer possess the ability to look to the past with any degree of honesty. Nor are there many left able to look to the future with any degree of hope. We live in Orwell’s eternal present, adrift on a sea of ignorance and apathy, bereft of any mooring in the truth of our history, or any lodestar to guide us into our future.


We have a past that connects us one to another. It is not a perfect past, but neither is it the litany of evil that the intellectually stunted and morally corrupt children of the left would have us believe. The connections of our shared historical experience continue to deteriorate like the cartilage of a bad knee. We have reached the painful bone-on-bone stage and something has to give.

There are many who ignorantly subscribe to the belief that the events of our past are subject to the cacophonous judgement of the historically illiterate and intellectually dishonest. These fools daily assault the sensibilities of the dwindling number who value the wisdom and traditions of our forebears. In the present age, it seems the lessons of millennia of human history count for nothing. A hysterical mob of historical revisionists, nouveau puritans, and petty despots now control the public discourse.

I am just a working man. I hold no grand office. I wield no power over my fellow men, yet I see with great clarity the maelstrom into which we are descending.  I, and others like me, can clearly discern what is coming, yet our rulers behave as if they are immune to the retribution and punishment that is long past due and payable.

What do those who rule this land expect us to do? Shall we bend the knee to the gaggle of geriatrics shuffling about the halls of Congress, or perhaps we should just abdicate our reason and do as the dotard in the white house demands? Take this. Do that. Do not do the other. Do as I say, not as I do.

This constant stream of authoritarian effluent streams from the minds and mouths of the pathetic pack of miscreants who purport to be our betters. It would be easy to conclude, if one passively absorbs the pap and drivel of the media, that the battle is lost. Diversity, equity, and inclusion have carried the day. Bent and tarnished trumpets sourly announce the victory of mediocrity, subservience, and lassitude. An amazing future without risk or reward awaits the timid masses. Existence is guaranteed, so long as the boat is not rocked. All this safety and security can be ours for the low low price of the lives and liberty of a few millions of our neighbors, friends, and family.

Let us speak plainly then, for time is short. Barring some unforeseen national reconciliation, it will come down to them or us. Us being all those who know what it means to call this land home. Them being every collectivist oxygen thief, corporate shill, political charlatan, welfare zombie, and race-baiting huckster who tries to gaslight us into believing that we are the problem. Some call us trad or heritage Americans, but what binds us to this land is far broader than our heritage and far deeper than our traditions. I, and those like me, are bound to this country by the sinew, blood and bone of all those who came before us.

The paternal line of my family arrived on these shores in 1634. My mother’s people followed around 1710. I am fortunate to know something of their story. The tale of their lives traces the history of this land from its beginnings. They are watching me and all of your people are watching you as well. They are our witnesses to the price of freedom. They wait to see if we have the courage to stem the tide of oppression that is lapping at our feet.

Rowland Stebbins watches from the bow of the “Francis” as she approaches the eastern shore of a land, as yet unpolluted, by the tyrannies of an old world that could not shackle his desire to be free.

Lorenzo Stinchfield, a casualty of Lincoln’s War, watches me from his front porch in Maine. He sips a hard cider and rests his maimed leg on a pillow. A Confederate musket ball shattered his ankle. He kept the pieces. He was fifteen and went to war with the last assemblage of Americans who just wanted to be left alone.

Betsy Stebbins watches too, while she waits to hear if her petition to have her maiden name restored will be granted. She could not abide carrying the name of the man who abandoned her. I suspect her fight was against a very personal tyranny. She would not be a slave to her past. Without her courage, I would not carry her name.

My great grandmother Marion, her work-roughened hands in the dishpan, peers at me from the window of her little house across the street from mine. She kept the shards of Lorenzo’s obliterated ankle in a little metal box in her attic. Her son, my great uncle Kenneth joins her. Twice wounded on D-Day, he too wonders if those that have come after him will have the stomach for the fight ahead.

This country is my home, not because I happen to inhabit the geographical space known as the United States, but because my people lie buried here. They have lived and died on this land for nearly four centuries. Their bones lie in the earth from sea to shining sea. I am not going anywhere. I will not comply with the demands of criminals, savages, or any variety of sociopath now ascendant. Defiance is what I offer all those who would shackle me and mine. Defiance is my gift to Rowland, Lorenzo, Marion, Kenneth, and all the others who came before me. My gift comes wrapped in the bloody rags of resistance and it contains the sum total of my contempt for the lickspittle denizens slithering to and fro in the halls of power. My gift smells of gunpowder and dried blood and I offer it freely to the invaders pouring across our southern border. My gift is tied up in a hangman’s noose and I offer it to every media bootlicker, every corporate toady, and every useless bureaucrat whose very lives hang upon the continued good will of several millions who are not yet cowed in the face of endless bluster and accusation.

The powers that be appear to expect my cooperation in my own immolation. What they will get is something quite different. My resistance to this tyranny will be offered up in great bleeding chunks to the effete martinets who prance across the national stage presuming to know what is best for me and those like me.

The fight we now face is beyond existential. It is not solely about survival. After all, of what value is survival without liberty? The roots of this conflict extend deep into our history. The tendrils of the past reach into and intertwine with the difficulties of the present. The voices of our Founders speak to us. The spirits of our ancestors hover all around us. Wondering. Waiting. This good land was their home. It was, and is, not just a place or an idea. It was home to them. It is home to us.

When we have passed from this life and stand before that great cloud of witnesses, what defense will we offer for our actions in the days to come? Will we hang our heads and mumble some drivel about compromise and the common good, or will we, like Horatius, be clear of eye and tell them that, for good or ill, we made our stand. Let us, then, comport ourselves so as to avoid condemnation in the eyes of our ancestors. Let us instead enter into their presence knowing that, of the multitude of reasons to resist this rising despotism, it was enough to know that we fought for the sake of their memory. We fought to defend the ashes of our fathers.

By Tim  Stebbins Via