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On this day in 1755, American patriot and spy Nathan Hale was born in Coventry, Connecticut
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On this day in 1755, American patriot and spy Nathan Hale was born in Coventry, Connecticut. He is famous for being executed by the British while on a spy mission during the Revolutionary War, uttering the last words, “I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country.”
There are no historical records to prove that Hale said these famous last words – in fact, there were conflicting reports at the time. More than one report mentioned his desire to lay down “multiple lives” for his country, but a British officer omitted this phrase, noting that: “He behaved with great composure and resolution, saying he thought it the duty of every good Officer to obey any orders given him by his Commander-in-Chief and desired the Spectators to be at all times prepared to meet death in whatever shape it might appear.”
Did you know? Nathan Hale was a schoolteacher by trade and only 21 years old when he was executed in September 1776. He was not a skilled or experienced spy, but his bravery, calmness in the face of death, and willingness to sacrifice himself for our country can still be commended today.
Last Words of Nathan Hale, Alexander Hay Ritchie, 1858