These were the last words of American Nathan Hale just before he was hanged as a spy during the American Revolution. Hale, a teacher, joined the fight in 1775, at the age of 20. He quickly rose to the rank of captain, and, while serving under General George Washington at the battle of Harlem Heights, volunteered to go on a spy mission.
Masquerading as a Dutch schoolteacher, Hale spent a week collecting information on the position of British troops. However, when Hale attempted to return to the American side, he was captured. Based on the information that Hale was carrying, he was quickly accused of spying and sentenced to die.
Faced with his approaching hanging, Hale chose to look at his fate as a positive opportunity to serve, rather than a negative problem which he had to overcome. Consequently, Nathan Hale was hanged on September 22, 1776, without having made any serious attempts to escape his death.