July 3, 2015 7 Comments
239 years ago a group of guys gathered in Philadelphia said loud enough to be heard in London that
Resolved, That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States, that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved.
That it is expedient forthwith to take the most effectual measures for forming foreign Alliances.
That a plan of confederation be prepared and transmitted to the respective Colonies for their consideration and approbation.
Tthe resolution passed, and a document that started “When in the course of human events…” was published. A committee including Thomas Jefferson (mostly), Benjamin Franklin, and John Adams wrote it. It became the Mission Statement first for America and then the free world. John Adams then said:
“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 shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires and illuminations from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.”
A man who knew his countrymen well, then and now. because it’s more about the American character than anything else. David Azerrad said this morning:
What sets us Americans apart is that we do not merely declare for liberty. We staunchly stand for it. To be an American is not only to know that you are born free, it is to have the courage to defend your freedom. This admirable aspect of the American character is evident in the fifth grievance the Declaration levels against the king.
It reads: “He has dissolved representative houses repeatedly, for opposing, with manly firmness, his invasions on the rights of the people.” The king acted as monarchs are wont to do. Our forefathers, although they were subjects, did not take his abuses passively. They resisted—with manly firmness.
The 56 men who signed our Declaration of Independence set the example for their fellow countrymen and for future generations. They did not simply proclaim the universal rights of man. They also pledged“to each other, our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.” And they meant it. Twelve served as combat commanders during the Revolutionary War. Five were captured and imprisoned by the British. Seventeen lost part of their fortunes.
America is not a country for servile men and women. We not only have aright to be free, but a duty to be free. For “when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security.” Free as we are, we have no liberty to choose despotism—even if it is sugarcoated, as it is today, with material comfort and license.
As Samuel Adams said in his rousing oration on American Independence: “If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude than the animating contest of freedom—go from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains sit lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen!”
But the men to use those arms have never been lacking. From the men, like joseph Plumb Martin and his fellow Continental soldiers, right on down to today, that freedom has been won and maintained by the best of us, Warriors of America. A reminder to a troubled world, we are still here, we still care, and we will again some day soon (I trust) be on scene.
Perhaps we should end with something a man with an American mother said:
Never give in! Never give in!
Never, never, never, never — in nothing great or small, large or petty.
Never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense.
That man, of course, was Sir Winston Churchill.