In Congress, July 4, 1776
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America, When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
Welcome to Independence Day 2023, which happens to be the 247th celebration of those words above ( and a couple of paragraphs more) being read for the first time to British subjects about to embark on a quest for freedom or maybe flee to Canada.
The words above, which were drafted by a committee to commission a Declaration consisting of John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Roger Sherman, and Robert Livingston, were mostly written by Jefferson and were painstakingly chosen by him. Jefferson, long after the Revolutionary period, never lost his flare for pushing the envelope and challenging the status quo in a number of ways, and this Declaration was a perfect example of his talent for this.
These visionaries could have never imagined the country they would be founding that would elicit such observations as the one posted by my colleague here at RedState Susie Moore earlier today Why Do You Love Your Country?… and here is an excerpt.
There are many reasons. I love the principles upon which it was founded. I love the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution — the words themselves and the ideas enshrined in them.
I love that the men who authored those documents valued liberty and recognized the perils of concentrated power enough to attempt to guard against them in a way that, while imperfect, has enabled millions of people to thrive and prosper, while enjoying a degree of freedom previously unknown.
I love that we elect our leaders — as imperfect (and frustrating) a process as that often is.
I love that millions of people have made a point to come HERE because of the opportunities this country holds.
I love that we have a beautiful country full of wonders both natural and man-made and we can travel about it freely.
I love that American ingenuity has led to a wide array of discoveries, inventions and innovations.
I highly suggest you click the link to her article to read the rest.
In reality, the above passage that is posted from the Declaration of Independence is both inspiring and terrifying.
If you really think about it, over 200 years ago, our distant relatives, who had no electricity, had to plan months in advance to eat, travel and sometimes communicate with each other, embarked on a journey to cut ties with the nation that had in some way shape or form supported them their entire existence. They did this not out of malice but as a way to improve their lot and improve the lives of all those that came after them.
We are the direct beneficences of that.
Of course, as most of us know, starting something from scratch like a family or business is incredibly hard, cutting yourself off from your main benefactor and undertaking the founding of a country even today with all of our advantages would seem impossible.
That they believed in this idea enough that it put their own existence and livelihoods at risk for themselves and their families is truly an amazing leap of faith.
Faith in their God.
Faith in their collective vision of founding a better system of governance.
Faith in their ability to sometimes just have to make it up as they went along with the firm understanding that if they failed they would be jailed and executed and their families destroyed.
I don’t consider myself to be a wallflower in any sense of the term, but I 1000 percent do not have the cojones and the backbone that those men and women did back in the late 1700s to do what they did. I am living in the long shadow of the sacrifices that they made, and am eternally grateful and blessed to be born in the country that they gave so much to create.
A while back, in a former life where I traveled a bit more than I do now, I happened to be talking to a veteran of the Vietnam War. We were discussing a previous July 4th and when we were done speaking, I shook his hand and said have a great rest of the 4th of July.
His easy-going demeanor suddenly became a bit dour and serious as he looked me directly in the eye while gripping my hand much more firmly and said simply, Independence Day falls on the 4th of July. I was genuinely confused by what he was saying to me and he noticed the look on my face and continued. If you are a Christian and celebrate the birth of Christ, you don’t say Happy December 25th. You say Merry Christmas; also, you don’t wish people a happy January 1st but a Happy New Year.
Ever since that chance conversation, I’ve appreciated his words more and more each year, and I am lucky enough to see another Independence Day. I now look forward to remembering and reflecting on the awe-inspiring work of those who sacrificed more than I could ever imagine giving myself and others the chance to live in the greatest country ever conceived.
A very Happy Independence Day to you and to those who appreciate the spirit of what transpired 247 years ago today.
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