This is a story that you should read to your daughters. It is about a young girl who was given a mission to deliver a message that the British were coming, and she showed the courage and fortitude to complete it. Two years before, it took four men to start the same mission, but not all finished it.

The year was 1777, during the American Revolutionary War. The girl was 16-year-old Sybil Ludington, the daughter of a Continental Army colonel. She was commissioned to ride from her home in Kent, New York to Danbury, Connecticut to gather Minutemen (civilian volunteers) for an upcoming battle. Sybil rode 40 miles on a rainy night – twice the distance of Paul Revere, who was captured by the British – and fought off a highwayman (bandit) with a black stick she was carrying. The 400 colonists to whom she delivered the message were too late to save Danbury from the British, but they did help drive them back to Long Island Sound in the Battle of Ridgefield.

For this overnight ride, Sybil was commended by George Washington for her heroism. She passed away in 1839 at the age of 77. A statue of Sybil riding a horse is in Carmel, New York. In 1975, her image was put on a U.S. postage stamp. A 50-kilometer foot race held every year in Carmel finishes near that statue. If it were up to me, Sybil Ludington riding her horse would be on the next U.S. coin.

When your daughter is feeling down about herself or being bullied on social media, remind her of Sybil’s 40-mile ride for the freedom of this nation. Tell her to never give up on herself and to keep her head up high. Life has a number of rewards to offer her.

This year we celebrate the 243rd birthday of our nation. To all Americans everywhere, have a happy and safe Fourth of July.

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Tony has lived in Lake Hopatcong since 1987. He has a bachelor’s degree in American literature from Ramapo College, a New Jersey teacher’s certificate, and a master’s in business administration from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Tony’s column, “For What It’s Worth,” appeared in Aim Jefferson for nine years. He recently retired after 46 years in the corporate world. Tony can be reached at tony.haryn@thejeffersonchronicle.com.