The Course of Human Events

It was 235 years ago that the 13 colonies of Great Britain declared their independence over a list of grievances and became united states.  This is in the plural form since each state was separate from the other states and there was no federal government or national identity… just a state identity.   It was on July 2, that the vote was taken for independence (a unanimous vote with the New York delegation abstaining), but it wasn’t until July 4 that the document was finished and the signatures were added.   We know in this time that it was Thomas Jefferson who authored the famous document, but this was not common knowledge until well after he had been President.  In fact, the Declaration of Independence was only a minor footnote in history and the document wasn’t even valuable until many years later.  No one at the time thought that it would live on in the annals of time and become a calling card to other people.

I sit here today, all of these years later, and am proud to be an American.  Though I don’t always agree with what my country/government does or the way in which we go about things, that should not be mistaken for not loving the country upon which I have been blessed to call home.  We are not perfect as a nation, and we have struggled throughout our existence, but we strive to be better and we can and do adapt in good time.  Even today, we struggle with various questions about who we are as a people and a nation, and though we have not yet reached the ultimate goal with the greatest of answers, I know that the day will come as eyes and minds are opened.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Those words have echoed throughout time and across many lands, and they have more meaning today amongst us all than they did back then.  We use this as a rallying call and for justification for action when we see ourselves being subjugated and taken advantage of.  As equal beings, we all shall have the same rights and we shall all stand for our freedoms.  And though we signed this document in good faith, we still had to win a war against Great Britain in order to secure our freedom and to fully establish these united states.

As a study of early American history, this day and its great significance is not lost upon me.  It was not easy to achieve, and has not been easy to keep.   Over these 235 years, we have fought valiantly whenever our freedoms were threatened… the same George Washington and the Continental Army did when we were being cast-aside as second-class citizens of the British Empire and watched as laws were passed against us despite us having no voice for recourse.  And though Great Britain was our main adversary for many years, today she is one of our closest allies.  This does not surprise me in the least as we are very similar in the way we are.  We just didn’t believe in a monarchy, and we believed that we, the people, should have control over our own destiny.

We celebrate today, but how many of us actually know the story.  Sure we salute the brave men and women that have provided for our defense, but do we stop and pay tribute to our Founding Fathers and to that generation.  They are not people that were larger than life and nor should they be seen as such.  They were just men, no different than we are today, that believed in something better and set off to establish it.  It was a bold step that they took on this day when they signed their names to the now famous document… by which they were committing an act of treason against the British Empire.  They gave us the chance to form our union and to set off in a direction that had never been attempted on such a scale before.  We don’t always get it right (even our Founding Fathers didn’t always get it right), but this is still a nation upon which we have the power to evoke change and to make corrections as they are needed.  And despite all of our flaws, I’m still proud to call the United States my home… I’m still proud to call myself an American… And I am honored to pay homage to those who started us down this path all those years ago and the story they helped to create.  Their courage, their tenacity, and their vision shall long endure upon our soil.  Their cause and their words will continue to resonate through time and the people that walk amongst the land.

(click the image to read the full text of the Declaration of Independence)

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