04. July 2005 · Comments Off on Independence Day · Categories: General

June 7, 1776:

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 disolved.”

July 4, 1776:

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

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….

… We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by the Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, 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; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. 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.

I am not ashamed to say that the first quote moves me to tears. Two hundred and some years ago, a group of men in a hot, humid meeting room in a backwater country joined together in a noble experiment. It was a new thing they were trying – no colony in the history of the world had broken from the parent country before. Simply stating the resolution made them all candidates for the hangman’s noose. But they not only resolved for independence, they proclaimed it, loudly and defiantly, in the midst of numerous military defeats.

Yes, we have a checkered past. So does every other country on the planet. I’m not going to let the mistakes of our past (or even of our present) impact my pride in, and love for, my birth country. A country is nothing more than a collection of people. People have always been imperfect. It stands to reason, then, that a country will also be imperfect. What matters is not that we make mistakes, but what we do once we recognize them.

The experiment begun in 1776 is still going strong. Amid triumps and tragedies, with victories and defeats, proud moments and shameful incidents, we have survived. May God grant that it always be so.

Comments closed.