July 4, 2013 is another day to set out to the family excursions and retreats that are filled with the all you can eat festivities of this national holiday. We indulge (sometimes overindulge) in the abundance of food and drink. As we linger with our physical and mental states fulfilled with the pleasantries of the day, do we pause and reflect on the sacrifices made over two hundred and thirty seven years ago; sacrifices that led us to have such a festive day? Do our children understand that those noble and selfless loyalists, who signed The Declaration of Independence and charted a journey to freedom, gave up much if not all? How different was the path of these founding men? These men of average lives and often humble means led a completely different life then those members of the house today.
Winning independence: not easy
Despotism was the order of the day during our founding days. This heightened state of aggravated assault was mostly caused by the British King and his noble and steadfast followers. Of course, if you asked those inflicting such distress upon the colonists if such complaints were valid, I am sure many of them would be indignant of such a blatant and ungrateful display. Should these colonists not wish to be part of the mother land that governed them with rigidity, regulations and lack of equal representation? These ungrateful colonists enraged with the burden of taxation and access to grievances, forgot that perhaps being free represented more a state of mind, then a state of being. It is without saying, that to the colonists and the men and women who fled from oppression and religious persecution, for the right to establish a country where “all men are created equal” and “endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights”. For these colonists, nothing but the true essence of freedom would suffice.
The Second Continental Congress observes the first Independence Day by signing the Declaration of Independence. Credit: John Trumbull.
The task was not an easy one. Much like it is today, there were those that simply could not understand what it meant to be really free and instead took hold of a tyrannical government as though it was their only refuge and sustainment. Much like today, many of the colonists did not understand that the price of liberty is not free; and that it is always best to dissolve the tangles of government from their lives, then to live forever in bondage to such a creature. Such actions require valor, conviction of the heart and the reliance of almighty providence, in order to persevere. In the midst of all this unsettling chaos, confusion and strife such men arose. Divine intervention granted such wisdom and insight to these valiant men. Men who were not concerned with expanding government and the security of their political careers; but instead sought about safeguarding the will of the people and the real essence of individual freedoms that could only be granted to them by God almighty.
Men like William Floyd (New York), whose family had the means to secure a good quality education and life. Upon the death of his father, William took over his family’s farm and soon thereafter took arms against the British.
Men like George Taylor (Pennsylvania) and Ironmaster, who not being one to be involved in politics took to the cause of freedom; or Abraham Clark (New Jersey) born into a farming family, a self taught man who fought for poor farm families. These are just three of the fifty-six signers of The Declaration of Independence. Many of these men were not as famous as Jefferson, Franklin or Adams; but their role in securing this document as a proclamation of sovereignty against the most powerful state of the time, speaks volumes to the depth of character these men possessed.
Today, we honor their work, their sacrifices and their lives. Today, let us take a moment, to think about what lies ahead of this great nation and the work that those of us who believe in her founding mission must undertake. This is not the time to capitulate to entities and a government that has long forgotten that the foundation of this great republic lies not with a constraining government, but with its free people.
Today and everyday, let us give thanks for this great nation.