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Live Free or Die!

‘Live Free or Die’ – Our New Hampshire Way of Life

‘Jay and Karen share the spirit of ‘Live Free or Die,’ and explain its interesting origins.'

To those of us who live in New Hampshire, ‘Live Free or Die’ is not simply our state’s motto – it's our way of life.  It is the spirit of liberty that energizes us and lies at our very core.

Although it is one of the most well-known of all the state motto’s, across our 50 states, yet the origins of New Hampshire’s famed “Live Free or Die” are not as well known. Adopted as the official motto in 1945, its author was New Hampshire native General John Stark, an unsung hero of the American Revolution credited as one of the most masterful tacticians of the war. In 1809, too sick to travel to a reunion for veterans of the famed Battle of Bennington, General Stark sent a toast in his stead. “Live Free or Die, death is not the worst of evils” he proclaimed to his former soldiers, embodying the spirit of the Revolution. And more than two centuries later, these words are more relevant than ever. 

Today, as we grapple with the challenges the present moment poses, to live free in my estimation means we must do all that we can to ensure the preservation of personal liberties.  This also means fighting to ensure others have equal access to these same liberties. We do this by taking personal responsibility for ourselves and our actions, for our families, and our communities. We do this through positive action, done in the pursuit of guaranteeing liberty is truly accessible by all. Otherwise, as General Stark so rightly said, death is not the worst of evils.

The Live Free or Die Spirit in Newport – Sturm Ruger

Bill Ruger

What community embodies the ‘Live Free or Die’ spirit more than Newport? Home of America's favorite plunker and world-famous Ruger 10/22, Sturm Ruger with major operations based in Newport is the largest gun manufacturer in America – producing tens of millions of firearms during its storied history.  It only seems fitting that Ruger should have such a prominence in Newport – as our town truly embodies the spirit of ‘Live Free or Die’ – with a streak of independence and a respect for self-reliance and the preservation of our Constitutional freedoms.

Founded in 1949 by Bill Ruger, Sr. and Alexander Sturm, with a $50,000 investment, Sturm Ruger has built its success on a commitment to quality. As Bill Ruger, Sr. famously said, he wanted to make sure that each of his products be built, “to a standard so I would want one even if it was made by our competitors.”

Bill Ruger’s philosophy was carried on by his late son, Bill, Jr., a prominent Newport area leader.  Bill, Jr. joined Ruger in 1964 and worked in a variety of manufacturing and engineering positions within the Company. In 1991 was named President of the Company and became Chairman and Chief Executive Officer upon William B. Ruger, Sr.'s retirement in 2000 – a position he held until his retirement in 2006. 

Sturm Ruger has been instrumental in the cohesion and progression of the Newport community. Most recently in Newport, under the leadership of Senior Vice-President Tom Sullivan – who has helped ensure the continuation of Sturm Ruger’s prominent role as a friend to the community. The several decades of employment of local citizens has made Newport the town that it is today. In addition to their contribution to the local economy, they have given countless amounts of donations to local causes and nonprofits that have helped promote community vibrancy for generations. In 2019, the Newport Area Chamber of Commerce chose them as "Business of the Year" in recognition of their never-ending commitment to Newport. 

Supporting Those Who Support Our Veterans

We can never forget those brave men and women of our military who stand guard for us – 24/7 – protecting our freedom.  Those who embody the ethos of ‘Live Free or Die.’  And, it is especially fitting that we also honor and support them as they continue to serve us even after their time in the military has ended.

This week I had the pleasure of attending a fundraiser for State Senator Regina Birdsell. Senator Birdsell is herself a veteran, having served in the Coast Guard. Since becoming one of New Hampshire’s most prominent State Senators she has been a tireless advocate for veterans of all branches and at all levels. 

I think it is important that we stand up for people when they do the right thing. Politics is a very divisive world right now but politicians like Regina keep their eye on the ball and work towards positive common goals that help the people of our state and our nation. There is no doubt in my mind that good people like Regina do exist in public office. The trick is to find them and make sure we champion and support them. 

Regina has always had a positive spirit and a ‘can-do’ attitude. This is not easy when it comes to getting things done in politics, and I am proud to have stood with and supported her on her mission to better the lives of veterans and all Granite Stater’s here in our wonderful state. 

Positive Profile of the Week:  Senator Judd Gregg

There is no one who more personifies the ‘Live Free or Die’ spirit than former U.S. Senator Judd Gregg.  During his entire career he has steadfastly stood for liberty and has been a tireless advocate for fiscal responsibility – protecting the taxpayer and holding the line on spending.

Judd was first elected to the Executive Council in 1978.  In 1980, he was elected to Congress where he served four terms representing New Hampshire’s 2nd congressional district.  And, in 1988, Judd was elected to the first of two back to back terms as our state’s Governor.  Then, in 1992, he was elected to the U.S. Senate - where he went on to serve our state proudly for three terms until his retirement from public office in 2010. 

Judd traveled his own path – fiercely independent, with strong convictions – respected and deeply appreciated in Washington as well as the Granite State.   Even selected to coach Presidents in debate prep.  As our representative in D.C.,  New Hampshire always knew that Judd would hold the line on spending – While knowing that our hard earned tax dollars are better spent by local government – rather than the swamp of Washington.

I am so very honored to pay tribute to Judd Gregg as our Profile of the Week.  A true ‘Yankee’ in the best sense of the word – and the embodiment of our ‘Live Free or Die’ spirit.

Quotes of the Week: Live Free or Die

Gen. John Stark

“Live Free or Die, Death is Not the Worst of Evils.” – General John Stark

“Give me liberty or give me death.” – Patrick Henry

“Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty.” - John F. Kennedy

“They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” - Benjamin Franklin

“I would fight for my liberty so long as my strength lasted, and if the time came for me to go, the Lord would let them take me.” - Harriet Tubman


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