At this time of the Fourth of July and the sesquicentennial of the Battle of Gettysburg, I write to call attention to the sacrifice of the First Minnesota Volunteer Infantry Regiment on the second day of that battle.
A gap had opened in the Union line, jeopardizing the entire position and the outcome of the battle. Only an all-out assault into that gap by the First Minnesota bought the requisite time to shore up the position, but at a catastrophically high casualty rate among that regiment.
Our relatively short national history can provide many anecdotes of sacrifice, in its varying forms, for the cause of our democracy.
In his June 28 column, Victor Davis Hanson likened our current situation to the decline of Rome, and perhaps he's right. This relatively recent experiment in freedom is far from secure, and it may lose out to more coercive forms of government.
Before the Civil War, many doubted the common people could rise above their narrow interests and that aristocratic government would prevail. The First Minnesota, and countless other Americans before and after, have demonstrated otherwise.