The other night my wife and I saw the movie “300: Rise of an Empire.” It’s an expansion of the story behind the movie “300,” part prequel, part sequel. The first of the two movies focuses on the Battle of Thermopylae. In 480 BC, at the narrow coastal pass of Thermopylae, known as “The Hot Gates,” King Leonidas of Sparta and 300 men held off an advancing Persian army, rumored to be 1,000,000 strong. Not only did the Spartans hold off the Persians for three days, they inflicted huge losses on their massive army. As legend has it, Xerxes I, of Persia, demanded that the Greeks lay down their arms and surrender. King Leonidas responded, “MOLON LABE,” which translates to, come and take it! Ultimately, all of the 300 were killed but the Greek states united and avenged them, decimating the mighty Persian army in two subsequent battles, the Battle of Salamis and the Battle of Plataea.
What has grown into an iconic statement of defiance, bravery, patriotism, loyalty and an unyielding commitment to never surrender, the saying “Molon Labe,” has been used many times since. “Come and take it” was a slogan in the Texas Revolution. The phrase is on the emblem of the Greek First Army Corps. It is also the motto of United States Special Operations Command Central (“SOCCENT”). Headquartered in Tampa, SOCCENT, among other roles, has the distinct honor of running wartime special operations missions. The fact that the people responsible for coordinating and assisting our nation’s most elite warriors chose “Molon Labe” as their motto tells you all you need to know about the intense meaning of this phrase. There are many other examples as well.
However, for me the phrase Molon Labe defines the state of minds of so many of our clients, myself, our incredible team, and many of my fellow foreclosure defense attorneys and other consumer advocates of all kinds. We all know the facts behind the historic foreclosure crisis the world is still facing. Banks gave out money with reckless abandon. They pooled enormous amounts of loans to form investment trusts. Then, they bought off ratings agencies to dupe both insurance companies and investors all over the world. When the house of cards collapsed, the reckless, greedy sociopaths, who call themselves Wall Street executives, were allowed to fly off into the sunset on their private jets, fortunes intact with millions in new bonuses to boot, while so many of us got wiped out and are still struggling to put the financial pieces of our lives back together.