For many years, I have passed through Lewes on the train from Eastbourne to London. I always wanted to stop and see this town. Last year, we were able to do so. There is a ruin of a Norman castle there and also a house which was once owned by Anne of Cleves, the fourth wife of Henry VIII. (Quick, how many did he have? If you said "six", you are correct!) I saw both of these places but I also wanted to see "The White Hart Hotel" which is where Thomas Paine spent a good amount of time expounding his opinions on freedom! (Richard and I were amused to find a pub in Lewes called "Rights of Man", named after one of Paine's most famous works.)
You do know Thomas Paine, don't you? Please say that you do! He is considered to have had a strong influence on the American Revolution by his writings of essays and pamphlets. His life was really quite extraordinary even if in the end, rather sad. I have a link for you, you should read all about him just here.
Thomas Paine had a series of pamphlets published in late 1776 in order to inspire the troops. George Washington must have thought very highly of his writing as he had the following read out to them...
These are the times that try men's souls: The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like Hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as freedom should not be highly rated.
On our way back to the train station, my eye was caught by the most beautiful tree with bright yellow leaves. Very happy that I insisted on a quick dash to see this tree because very close to it was this statue of Thomas Paine! I had no idea that this was here, it was just a happy accident to find it. (It was just in front of the very lovely Lewes Library.)
Looking into it, the man behind this amazing piece of art is Marcus Cornish. (Have you seen a Paddington Bear statue at Paddington Station in London? That is also by Marcus Cornish.)
Thomas Paine as a cornerstone...that seems just right for me.
"May you always be blessed with Love and Freedom."
Oh, and I forgot to mention. Saw this on the news... a bald eagle was tangled in a rope and was caught on a branch of a very high tree. It was too high for anyone to reach it, so a former soldier had a gun and...NO! He didn't kill the bird, he shot the branch enough times that the limb fell from the tree, thereby saving the bald eagle! He had to be careful, eagles are protected...had he shot the bird, he would have been in trouble! Love that story, had to tell you...here is a link army vet with incredible story of bird rsecue.