A Message for Independence Day
"For the support of this declaration, with firm reliance on the protection of the divine providence, we mutually pledge to each other, our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor."
This was the pledge made by signers of the Declaration of Independence. The independence these signers sacrificed for is what we celebrate this Independence Day, 2000.
As we celebrate this day, it is sad to contemplate just how little we seem to appreciate the Constitution that the founders left us. Under the guise of "doing the people's business" the Congress has usurped powers not given it to build a powerful central government whose untold rules, regulations, and heavy taxes have rendered most citizens little more than slaves to an all-powerful government -- all in the name of our own good!
Abusing the Constitution's "General Welfare" clause (whose purpose was to limit the scope of specifically enumerated powers of government), contemporary politicians curry favor with voting blocks for their own personal gain. Of what consequence would Article X of the Bill of Rights have if the Constitution's authors intended to grant Carte Blanche to Congress by allowing them to justify virtually any domestic intrusion through a broad, inappropriate interpretation of the "General Welfare" clause?
Politicians care little of Constitutional limitations, ethics, integrity, character, honesty, or honorable service to the people and realize that most citizens will either empower them more so that greater largesse will come their way, or they are too busy trying to make ends meet to survive in our heavily regulated and taxed nation.
Rather than celebrate something we no longer have, true liberty and independence, perhaps it would be best to reflect on the sacrifices that were made to create this nation. It is a certainty that indifference to congressional abuse of power will destroy the fruits of those great sacrifices.
Have you ever wondered what happened to the 56 men who signed the Declaration of Independence?
Five signers were captured by the British as traitors, and tortured before they died.
Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned. Two lost their sons who served in the Revolutionary Army; another had two sons captured.
Nine of the 56 fought and died from wounds or hardships of the Revolutionary War.
They signed and they pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor.
What kind of men were they?
Twenty-four were lawyers and jurists. Eleven were merchants, nine were farmers and large plantation owners; men of means, well educated. But they signed the Declaration of Independence knowing full well that the penalty would be death if they were captured.
Carter Braxton of Virginia, a wealthy planter and trader, saw his ships swept from the seas by the British Navy. He sold his home and properties to pay his debts, and died in rags.
Thomas McKean was so hounded by the British, that he was forced to move his family almost constantly. He served in the Congress without pay, and his family was kept in hiding. His possessions were taken from him, and poverty was his reward.
Vandals or soldiers looted the properties of Ellery, Hall, Clymer, Walton, Gwinnett, Heyward, Ruttledge, and Middleton.
At the battle of Yorktown, Thomas Nelson Jr., noted that the British General Cornwallis had taken over the Nelson home for his headquarters. He quietly urged General George Washington to open fire. The home was destroyed, and Nelson died bankrupt.
Francis Lewis had his home and properties destroyed. The enemy jailed his wife, and she died within a few months.
John Hart was driven from his wife's bedside as she was dying. Their 13 children fled for their lives. His fields and his gristmill were laicd to waste, he found his wife dead and his children vanished. A few weeks later he died from exhaustion and a broken heart.
Hewes and Livingston suffered similar fates.
Such were the stories and sacrifices of the American Revolution. These were not wild-eyed, rabble-rousing ruffians. They were soft-spoken men of means and education. They had security, but they valued liberty more. Standing tall, straight, and unwavering, they pledged: "For the support of this declaration, with firm reliance on the protection of the divine providence, we mutually pledge to each other, our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor."
They gave you and me a free and independent America.
The history books never told you a lot about what happened in the Revolutionary War. We didn't fight just the British. We were British subjects at that time and we fought our own government. Some of us take these liberties so much for granted, but we shouldn't.
So take few minutes while enjoying your 4th of July holiday and silently thank these patriots. It's not much to ask for the price they paid.
Remember: Freedom is never free! We are as free as we make ourselves if we continue to protect our liberty, freedom of speech, and the pursuit of happiness for all women, children, and men.
God bless America.
Show your support by sharing this with as many people as you can. It's time we get the word out that patriotism isn't a sin, and the Fourth of July has more to it than beer, picnics, and baseball games.
The Declaration of Independence