The Battle of Athens Tennesse happened in 1946. But how will the future look back on OUR time? Will we be the people who recognized the times? Will we be people who realized the slow disintegration of our rights and freedoms that then moved to a tsunami of laws and government involvement in every aspect of our lives from dictating which milk we can drink to if we can harvest the water off our own roof? Or, will we be the people who as long as our AC was pumping cold air and McDonald’s was serving up Big Macs that we were content with sitting in front of the TV watching the latest show that allowed our minds to veg and decay? Only time will tell where we end up.
But we are not the first example of a people who encountered tyranny. In fact, this isn’t our first go around here in this nation! We all know about July 4, the day we celebrate Independence Day from the tyrannical rule of King George III of England. We remember the sacrifice of many men, who would have rather lost EVERYTHING (some did) instead of live with the chains of bondage. But now, fireworks, hamburgers and apple pie have taken the place of God, country, and freedom. Sometimes it seems we have taken too much for granted in exchange for a life of “ease and safety.”
Maybe we are too weak! Maybe we have lost the fire and sense of purpose that the Founding Fathers exhibited. Or, let’s not even go back that far. Maybe we should be like the “Greatest Generation” that experienced the Depression and World War II? They got things done, like the men of Athens and Etowah, Tennessee.
A recent comment on If They Mean to Have A War, Let It Begin Here!, brought to my attention the events of August 1-2, 1946. Until the comment, I had never heard of this incident. But it is a true story that everyone should hear!
The Battle of Athens
What do you expect from GI’s that have been serving their country all over the world? What should we expect from men who were on a mission to free the world of a crazed, tyrannical leader? We should expect that they come home and get to experience the same freedoms that they were helping to secure across the ocean! But, that’s not what the GI’s of Athens and Etowah, Tennesse experienced!
After experiencing corruption by the McMinn County Sheriff department and multiple election years of voter fraud, which were reported to the Department of Justice with no follow-through, returning GI’s decided to help their county become corrupt-free by forming the GI Non-Partisan League and supporting veteran Knox Henry in the August 1946 election for Sheriff.
As the polls closed, deputies seized ballot boxes and took them to the jail. Opposition veterans responded by arming themselves and marching there. Some of them had raided the National Guard Armory, obtaining arms and ammunition. Estimates of the number of veterans besieging the jail vary from several hundred to as high as 2,000.
When the men reached the jail, it was barricaded and manned by 55 deputies. The veterans demanded the ballot boxes but were refused. They then opened fire on the jail, initiating a battle that lasted several hours by some accounts, considerably less by others. In the end, the door of the jail was dynamited and breached. The barricaded deputies—some with injuries—surrendered, and the ballot boxes were recovered.
The veterans were successful in bringing change and reform. However, the change the GI League supported fell apart soon after the election. The “political machine” returned! The point here is that men fought against a tyrannical system, with firearms, because they HAD to, and won! We can’t forget that!
Real patriots don’t want to pick up their guns at the first sign of pain. History has shown that patriots do it as a last resort. But even as recent as 1946, men realized that it was necessary to pick up arms to defend what was right. The question is, will THIS generation, or if necessary, future generations, take up arms to do what is right?
I noticed on Wikipedia that Hallmark made a movie “based” on the events of the Battle of Athens. I was able to find it on the AR15 Forums and I’m linking it here below straight from Youtube. Since it’s Hallmark, I’m thinking “date movie!” 😉