{Author: In memory of those who gave their lives for others' liberty, for the principles that America was founded upon...}

My mother died one year prior to my enlisting in the union army. The war had gone on for some time now. I couldn't stand by in the courtrooms and watch anymore.

"Harrison Jeffords." I was called next in line. I signed my name and was immediatly put into training. I learned quickly and worked well with the rest of my regiment. "John, where are we going?" I asked one of my fellow privates as we were sent off toward a battlefront. "I heard we're going to a woodland area." John answered. "Hopefully we can see our enemy among the trees." I remarked. "I'm sure it has some fields as well, after all, it isn't like the northern forests in Michigan." He laughed. We were members of the Fourth Michigan Volunteer regiment, and we were heading to our first battlefield.

I soon found myself at the battlefield. I stood in full uniform at the top of a ridge, in the union sea of soldiers. Then, we all started to march. Gunfire echoed as bullets whipped through the air. I felt the wind on my face as I loaded and fired. Friends fell down around me, and as our ranks thinned, the commander called out: "Open fire!" I dashed to a tree, taking cover from the storm of battle. Two of the southern soldiers were holed up behind a wood structure. Adrenaline pumped through me as I snuck around behind their shelter. I questioned whether I should kill the two men I had been able to sneek up behind. It just didn't feel right... It felt strange being able to see up close the people I was shooting. I couldn't bring myself to do it, and then I saw. One of the men I stood behind fired at my commander, the man that had taught myself and many others how to fight. I watched my mentor fall down onto the dew covered grass field. I rammed by bayonet into the man, and i pumped a ball of lead through him. He screamed in pain, and the other soldier fell on his back, completely taken off guard. I withdrew the rifle, and stabbed the other soldier. His eyes looked at me with fear, and longing. I had no mercy for this man, and I bashed his face in with my boot. I vaulted over the cover and charged at the advancing soldiers. I held up my weapon ahead of me, and it tore the throat of an enemy, then lodged inside the chest of another. As I shoved the dying man off my weapon, I looked down the barrel of an enemy soldier's gun, he stood directly in front of me, and I could see the hatred in his eyes. The man fell down as a bullet struck his head. My friend, John, ran past me, "You're welcome!" He yelled. I loaded my weapon and fired at the oncoming group. Thanks to my allies who quickly came to my side, we were able to take them all out. Their sargent was among the deceased. I took the sword from the enemy's belt, and I led a squad forward. We cornered the commander of the enemy, and when I took him hostage at the point of a sword, He had the southern troops put down their weapons. We captured them all, and had won the battle.

Two years later, I had risen to the rank of Colonel. The Fourth Regiment surrounded me as I led them into the bloodbath that was gettysburg. John beared the colors of our nation as he stood a the front of our infantry unit. When we saw the other soldiers coming out of the woods on the opposite side of the field, we began our attack. "First Line,fire!" I ordered, and they released a round of shots, they dropped to their knee to reload as i called out, "Second line, fire!" The gunpowder flared, and smoke filled the air as our armies spat bullets back and fourth. "Open fire!" I yelled as the confederates got closer. I saw our flag start to fall and My friend collapse. "No!" I yelled, and ran. I drew my sword as i charged through the chaos. I saw the body of my friend, now lifeless, on the ground. No tears poured from my eyes that had been dried from so much war. I slashed the stomach of the man who killed my friend, and he fell to the ground, bleeding. Other confederates ran forward, and I gored them with my blade. I passionatly defended my fallen ally. I picked up the flag, and raised it high. "Liberty!" I called out, and the bells of hope rung in the hearts of the union soldiers, they decimated their enemy. I held the colors high as I defended our pride. As the battlecame to an end, an enemy soldier rammed a bayonet into me. I choked, and thrust my blade through his neck. He fell to the ground, and I stepped back, dropping my sword onto the field. The green grass contrasted the red liquid that covered it. I watched the battle come to a close as I leaned against the pole for support. The flag draped around my shoulders as I sunk to my knees. My comrades came to my side, and they carried me and the flag away. I looked up at the blue sky, and smiled as slipped away. Liberty had won, we had won! The soldiers laid me down on the field near a tree, with the flag of our country lying around me. I couldn't see the blue sky, or the green grass, or the red blood. Never again would I see the shining buckles and navy coats, or the brown oak tree that i was dying next to... I didn't feel sad, I felt happy. I had played my part in freeing the slaves, i had played my part in uniting the nation... I was at peace, and I would get to see my friends and family again... I closed my eyes, and smiled softly, "Mother, mother, mother."

{Author: Colonel Harrison Jeffords was a real union soldier during the civil war from 1861-1863. He died protecting the American Flag, and his fellow soldiers, and this was a fictionalized story about a small portion of his life. Happy INDEPENDENCE DAY! Don't forget to think about all of the heroes that made this nation great.}