The Fourth of July is more than fireworks, barbecue and watermelon — much more. It’s a day that marks the anniversary of one of the most momentous occasions in human history. It’s Independence Day!
On that day in 1776, 56 brave men signed their names to the Declaration of Independence, proclaiming that the 13 original American colonies were no longer willing to live under tyrannical British rule.
Those men, among them some of the most notable names in American history, risked their own fortunes, their safety and that of their families by signing the document; they were still in the earliest stages of a war against an enemy that vastly outgunned them and was better trained. By signing their names to the very spirit of patriotism, the men risked being hanged in the event of defeat; and they risked consigning their families to lives of misery and poverty and persecution.
But they were not alone. Thousands of the signers’ fellow countrymen had already denounced loyalty to Great Britain and taken up arms against the British in the name of American independence. Seven bloody years after the signing of the Declaration and eight bloody years after the initial shots at Lexington and Concord, a new, free, republican nation was born.
Those 56 who risked their lives by signing their names to a document that declared in no uncertain terms that they meant to create a better place where freedom reigned supreme would undoubtedly have trouble recognizing their nation today. Given the state of political discourse and the tendency for bureaucracy to destroy freedom in order to centralize power and enrich the oligarchs, the federal government has effectively come to represent everything for which those men claimed disdain in the Declaration.
Have you ever actually read the Declaration? If so, how long ago was it? Only by reading the document can one understand just how the United States has come full circle back to tyranny.
Click here to read the document in its entirety. Read it slowly, and pay extra attention to the stated list of grievances. How many of those can we reasonably claim today?
For a thorough historical background and to better understand the Declaration’s signers, read “They Signed for Us,” which was written by Merle Sinclair and Annabel Douglas McArthur and first published in 1957.
But most of all, take time from your celebratory fireworks, meal preparations or travel to remember the Fourth of July is Independence Day, and brave men signed the document at risk of death. They, and many other men and women who understood what liberty means, fought for and died for our freedom.
We cannot let it get away from us.