On July 2, 1776, the Second Continental Congress voted to approve a resolution of independence. It was not until two days later that they had finally approved their statement describing why they supported independence. The Declaration of Independence as it would be known, is a living document, one that is at the very core of our nation and its people. We are at a time in history where our government needs to return to the core principles of the Declaration of Independence and be reminded that these foundations are just as applicable today.
Although John Adams was two days off in predicting the completion of the Declaration of Independence, he wrote, "The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch 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 shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more."
So while we now celebrate our day of independence on the Fourth of July with the pomp and parade requested by our forefathers, let us do so while remembering those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice to protect the freedom and independence that we hold dear. We owe it to our forefathers to stand firm in the principles upon which this country was founded. Principles of limited government, freedom and equality.
Wherever you might be this weekend, take the time to reflect on the power of these words, "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. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from consent of the governed, that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute a new government, laying its foundations on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness."
These are powerful words that throughout history have inspired men to action. From Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address to Chinese students standing up against communism in Tiananmen Square, the principles of freedom and rights laid out in the Declaration have surely shaped the past and will continue as we look towards the future. Regardless of our politics, today in unison we are thankful for our freedom and celebrate our independence.
Happy Independence Day!