As we approach the anniversary of our nation’s independence from British rule, I think it is important to reflect on the sacrifices made by those men and women who, against great odds, chose to assert their rights and set forth a new path for a new nation. Never before had men aligned themselves as free and independent of Pope or Crown. Their vision was a bold statement to the world about self governance and rights endowed by their Creator. No longer would they adhere to the dogma of the past. No longer would they be content to merely be subjects.
Let us first consider the general costs of this war for independence. We do not know the total costs of the American Revolutionary War but according to historical records we have learned that more than 25,000 American Revolutionaries died during active military service — 8,000 from battle and 17,000 from disease. As is common with any war more victims succumb from the perils of disease than death in battle. Roughly 8,000 – 12,000 of those died of starvation or disease brought on by the deplorable conditions while prisoners of war, most of them rotting in British prison ships. 2,500 Americans died at Valley Forge in the winter of 1777-1778. There are estimates of between 8,500 – 25,000 Revolutionaries were seriously wounded or disabled by the war.