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Has the potency of our Independence been lost behind a smoke screen of fireworks?
The significance of holidays degrade by inattention. Thanksgiving becomes gluttony day. Christmas Incarnation becomes gift-giving day. Resurrection Sunday becomes eat a chocolate bunny day. Independence Day becomes picnic and fireworks day.
Independence Day originally was more than explosive light shows. It was death-defying determination to escape totalitarian rule. In a much smaller land, and missing the millions who live here today, 4,435 died because of The Declaration. They put action to the words, “appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, … And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.”
What if you could not buy products from Turkey, Germany or South Africa unless they first were shipped to England, and then were shipped to you with English taxes?
What if a British officer knocked on your door and informed you that ten soldiers would be staying at your home for a few months starting now?
What if you were not allowed to make the most basic laws governing the behavior of people in your state or community?
What if the Crown taxed you more than they taxed the people in England and refused to listen to your many questions and petitions?
Would you patiently implore the understanding of England as did the colonies? Would you petition and implore? Would you, like the the colonist eventually say, “Rebellion against tyrants is obedience to God” and “Don’t tread on me!”
A question for us moderns is, “Would you and I have signed the document?”
Would we have laid down our lives, our bank accounts and reputations to back up our signatures?
Our behaviors as everyday patriots will show us what we would have done had we been planted in those pivotal days of history. Perhaps our days are no less momentous.
It’s been said that “To maintain our nation’s freedom it will take the same kind of resolve that it took to form it.” Let’s be grateful for the intelligence, wisdom and determination that those before us acted on to gain us freedom. Let us somberly remember our children and grandchildren, and refresh our resolve as we celebrate our costly freedom.
John Adams wrote regarding the Declaration.
“The Second Day of July 1776, [the day Adams thought the signing and commemoration would both be on] will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival.
It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with-
Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.
You will think me transported with Enthusiasm but I am not. I am well aware of the Toil and Blood and Treasure, that it will cost Us to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States.
Yet through all the Gloom I can see the Rays of ravishing Light and Glory. I can see that the End is more than worth all the Means. And that Posterity will tryumph in that Days Transaction, even altho We should rue it, which I trust in God We shall not.”
Please do solemnize the day by setting off fireworks, clanging the kitchen pots and honking your car horn, but don’t fail to tell your children the reason for doing so!
Steven C Johnson
Note this excellent article w