Letters for 07-01-2015

What we truly celebrate
It’s no surprise that polls and studies
show a large number of Americans
have precious little knowledge of our
nation’s history.
That condition cannot change with
a few hundred words published in a
weekly newspaper. But the celebration
of the creation of the United States of
America seems like a good time for a
brief lesson on what we should truly
observe this weekend.
Though historians debate when the
document was actually signed, the Second
Continental Congress adopted the
Declaration of Independence on July
4, 1776.
Put onto parchment following the
first shots of the war for independence
from Great Britain had been fired, the
document is the first time the phrase
“united States of America” was used.
The 56 men who signed it did so at great
peril to themselves. Had the Continental
Army not prevailed in the ensuing
war, their fate would have been much
The declaration outlined specifically
the reasons the states sought separation
and served as the tone for the Constitution
of the United States, which would
be adopted over a dozen years later
following the conclusion of the war for
At over 1,300 words, it is too long to
be printed here. But since this is an
abridged history lesson, we will provide
the first part of it:
“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. That to secure these rights,
Governments are instituted among
Men, deriving their just powers from the
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 to abolish it, and
to institute new Government, laying
its foundation on such principles and
organizing its powers in such form, as
to them shall seem most likely to effect
their Safety and Happiness. ...”
As you celebrate with fun, food and
fireworks this weekend, take time to
reflect both on the men whose courage
led to its creation and the men and
women who have fought to defend it and
our nation. Both are certainly worth