"Come and take them." If ever there was a classic expression of defiance, this is it. When Xerxes Persian armies, showing overwhelming numbers of 600,000 fierce troops, demanded that the Greeks surrender their weapons at the Battle of Thermopylae, King Leonida I, with a mere 300 Spartans supporting, responded with this phrase.
Pronounced mo-LONE lah-VEH, Molon labe, the expression is not only one of the most significant in military history, but it also signifies the determination to not strike the first blow, but also to not stand mute and allow our loved ones, and all that we believe in and stand for, to be trampled by men who would deprive us of our natural rights. If “Don't Tread On Me” is a cautionary warning, Molon Labe is the final admonition.
Today, there lies a plaque dedicated to these heroes all at the site. It reads: “Go tell the Spartans, travelers passing by, that here, obedient to their laws we lie.”
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