Death or Freedom

April 1, 2017
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“I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country.”

My life flashed before my eyes thinking about what I could have done differently. Darkness, all I see is darkness. My heart was pounding with rage, but I didn't scream, I didn't cry. I looked at the tall figures in front of me and smiled. All I did was smile. Nothing could break me, the fear, anger, sadness, and regret, didn't exist at this very moment. I let it all go, let everything go. Will this be the end of me? Will I die?

On July 4, 1775 my whole life changed. I got a letter with fancy writing on it from my old classmate Benjamin Tallmadge. I hesitated to open the letter scared of what it could say. Sweat poured over my face. My heart felt like it was going to beat out my chest but I still opened it anyway. It said “Was I in your condition, I think the more extensive service would be my choice. Our holy Religion, the honor of our God, a glorious country, and a happy constitution is what we have to defend.” I throw the letter down as fast as I could and went to sleep with the letter still on my mind.

Freedom all I want is freedom. I pondered wondering what I should do. Benjamin words wouldn't leave my mind. It haunted me day and night. This was my calling, my calling to defend my country. His words hit me like a brick. On the seventh day after receiving the letter. I vowed that I would do whatever it takes to get freedom and whatever it take to defend my country no matter what happens. Even if it could cost me my life. I became first lieutenant at the 7th Connecticut Regiment. Where I served under Colonel Charles Webb of Stamford.

The Morning breeze hit my face cooling me off from the blistering sun raining upon me. It was spring and we were marching with General George Washington racing to beat the British before they took over New York. I was caught deep in my thoughts thinking about the possible outcomes of this battle. When I realized someone was tapping on my shoulder it was my best friend Jay. Jay was tall with messy black hair and a long dry pale looking face. He started the same day I did and we became friends fast. We vowed to have each other's backs and keep one another's secrets. “Nathan, Nathan, NATHAN!”, he screamed snapping me out of my daize. “What sor- what did you.” Everyone was staring at us but I just ignored them and gave my full attention to Jay.

“I said are you excited to be serving by General George Washington’s side.” I just shrugged hiding my nervousness and excitement from him to embarrassed to show him. “We have to win this battle or we will never be free.” “Which is becoming more of a reality.” “JAY don't say that!” Anger filled me I hated when people broke down the only thing that is keeping me afloat. Jay looked at my face and was about to say something, into we were interrupted by another soldier. “SILENCE you IDIOTS people can be listening to your conversation!” For the rest of the way we were quite. I started to think Jay might be right. “No!” “That's foolish I thought and quickly pushed the thought out of my head not wanting to think about it anymore.”

We arrived in Long Island tired, but determined to keep fighting. We arrived in late August. It was hot the sun was shining bright in the sky. It couldn't have been more beautiful. The pink blowing tree looked amazing. There were many bugs that surrounds us. Bee rung and are ears while the sun burned us to a crisis. It was so hot it felt like I was dying. We set up forts but, it was small and cramped. The sun started to disappear out of the sky so me and my soldiers decided to go into the fort. It was complete silence and all you could hear were the saccades outside the fort. Jay was the first person to break the silence. “When are we going to attack the British I'm sick and tired of waiting here doing NOTHING!” I did answer him or argue with him because I hungered for action too, I hungered to defend my country. Jay settled down and soon he was fast asleep but, I couldn't go to sleep something keep me awake.    

I could feel this sickening feeling in the the pit of my stomach. I stayed up all night. The sun started to rise over the hills but the feeling in my stomach lingered. I couldn't shake this feeling it just would go away. Then it happen the British attacked. George Washington was wrong. “George Washington was wrong I screamed get up everyone.” Everyone hurried to their feet getting their things ready as fast as they could. “There are too many of them,” said George Washington!” We were told to run but I couldn't find Jay. Where was Jay he was nowhere to be found? “Jay where are you.” Then out of the corner of my eye I could see a red coat coming at me with a spare. “WATCH OUT!” I heard someone scream. It was Jay he dropped to the ground holding the spear that was in him with his two hands. Blood was everywhere the spear was stuck in him.  At that moment I punched the soldier. Killing him instantly.

“JAY JAY ANSWER ME JAY!” There was a long pause of silence. Then he said  “Nathan pro- promise me you will help win this war no matter what it cost,” he said in a weak voice barely audible. “I promise, I said firmly. A solider that was under me tried to pull me away from Jay. “We have to go Nathan NOW!” “NOW LET'S GO!” It took three solider to pull me away. Anger filled every part of me my soul, heart, and mind. I lost my best friend today. We got to the camp that was already set up near by. When we got into the tent I went ballistic. “HOW COULD HE LET THIS HAPPEN!” “HE IS SUPPOSE TO BE A STRONG LEADER!” I had so much rage in me I didn't know what to do with it. I want to cry, to quit, to give up all hope but I remembered the promise. In on August 29, 1775. I vowed.... I vowed to do whatever it take to get revenge on the British and keep my promise.

That night we morned the soldiers that had fallen. “JAY!” I jotted awake. Jay wouldn't leave my mind his memory haunted me like a ghost haunting a house. “Are you ok lieutenant?” He… he died because of me.” I said in a quiet whisper. “What?” “HE DIED BECAUSE OF ME!” “HOW COULD I HAVE LET THIS HAPPEN HOW? At this point I had broken out in tears. Water was steaming down my face like a waterfall. Jack my third in command tried to comfort me but I just push him away. “George Washington has a announcement,” a soldier yelled from outside the fort. I didn't want to see George Washington faces but I pulled my weak aching off the ground. George Washington got up to speak and he said “We lost New York to the British they pushed us out.” You lose the New York to the British and got a lot of people killed I thought in my head angrily. I have to control my emotions I through so I took a deep breath and continued to listen.

“We have to win this battle we have to change the game.” “I'm sick and tired of losing I what to be free and I know everyone else does.” Then what do we do asked a soldier. “We need a spy.” “We need a volunteer, we need someone to gather information on the British before the battle at Harlem Height, said George Washington.” It was silence not even the animals were chatting. It was dangerous everyone know that everyone knew the penalty of getting caught. “I volunteer to become a spy and go behind enemy lines to get the information on the British before the battle at Harlem Height.” All eyes shot me. The soldier that were with me you could see the worry spared across there faces. “You are a brave soldier and decayed to you freedom you will leave in the morning.

I walk back to the fort as fast as I could but Jack grab my arm and yanked me backwards. “Are you out of your mind I know you lose Jay but this is crazy.” I ignored him trying so hard not to yell or argue. “Nathan is it really worth it giving you life because you miss Jay.” I punched him in the face as hard as I could. “I'M DOING THIS FOR JAY.” “I KEEPING MY PROMISE TO HIM SO BACK OFF JACK BEFORE YOU GET EVEN MORE HURT.” All of my anger went onto Jack and I regret that but I wasn't sorry for what I said. Jack was on the ground with blood gushing from his nose. I just walked away to anger to be the bigger person and help him up. It was nighttime and me and Jack kept our distance but I was to focus on tomorrow to care about the argument that happen earlier.

It was the morning and I decide to make peace with Jack before I left. “I'm sorry I didn't me t-.” “Just be safe Nathan and don't get yourself killed.” After that he gave me a hug and walked out the fort in tears. I left a few minute after he did. I was disguised as a Dutch schoolmaster. With my Yale University education I successfully got into British territory. I got the trust of many British soldiers by teaching their children and so became well known. Several weeks later and I gathered information about the attack on Manhattan. “Mr. Hale Mr. Hale guess what?” “What?” “The British just took control of Manhattan.” I walked to the meeting spot as fast as I could to drop off the information but, something was off and felt like someone was watching me. I shook the through out of my head thinking that I was probably just paranoid but the filling of someone follow didn't go away so I turn back.

I was anxious what if I get caught I thought to myself. On September 20, 1776 news of fire that was set at Manhattan spear like wildfire. I have to leave I have to go or I will be killed. I walked outside side and there were British soldiers everywhere. The British is on high alert that bad. I tried to stay calm not wanting to draw too much attention to myself but I started to panic it felt like the walls were closing in on me. I couldn't breath. No, get yourself to gather all you do is have to get the information to George Washington. A British soldiers came up to me and asked me if I was ok. “Yes I find sir I was just running because I'm going to be late, I said in a quiet quivering voice.” I walked away as fast as I could my whole body was trembling. I went on the feast of the day trying not to show how scared I was.

Days, hours, weeks, months so much time it take so much time to get back to where I belong Tonight! Tonight I will pack up all my information and leave in the morning. I will be gone and safe back with my family. It was morning and I grab what I had packed the night before and ran out the door. If I don't get to the ship I will die. I had to make to to the boats. I arrive to the boats with the document in my hand. I slowed down because their were a lot of British soldier. I made to the boat and I thought I was safe. I could have been wrong. I was sailing through Long Island Sound so close to American controlled territory when I was captured by British solider. They hit me and everything went black.

I woke up in a dark room. Everything was blurring my head but pounding but I tried to look around. There were no window and no visible details to tell me where I am. My hands were bonded to the chair. My documents! The documents are gone! The door slammed but I couldn't see anything. Then he set forward and I realized who he was. General William Howe was interrogated me I was done for. “What were you doing sail out in the sea he said in a harsh voice.” I looked at him and took a deep breath trying to keep my cool. “Nothing sir I swear.” “I'm just a simple innocent Dutch schoolmaster I promise.” At that moment another solider enter the room. The soldier came up close and whispers something in his ear. “YOU LIAR.” “HE WILL BE EXECUTED FOR SPYING IN THE MORNING.”

Just like that he walked out the room and I was meet with complete silence. “Nathan Nathan.” Jay was standing in front of me I couldn't believe my eyes. Surely I was dream I through. “You keep your promise but my death is not your fault it's not.” After saying those words he disappeared. I was too tired to think. My hope complete disappeared. I did try to escape or plead. I just accepted my fate. A British solider came to me and unlocked me and led me to the gallows. I didn't fight what was the point I thought. I walked past a room and something caught my eye. “SAMUEL IS THAT YOU!” “YOU DID THIS.” “YOU ARE GOING TO BE THE REASON I DIE!” I was filled with anger but I quickly comes done.

The execution asked me if I had any last words. “I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country.”

My life flashed before my eyes thinking about what I could have done differently. Darkness, all I see is darkness. My heart was pounding with rage, but I didn't scream, I didn't cry. I looked at the tall figures in front of me and smiled. All I did was smile. Nothing could break me, the fear, anger, sadness, and regret, didn't exist at this very moment. I let it all go, let everything go. Will this be the end of me? Will I die? The floor dropped and I could breath. Then everything went dark…….

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