July 2, 2014 —
As we Americans take a day off from work on Friday to mark the 238th birthday of our country, can we find a few moments to reflect on those who made it happen?
Independence Day is its official name but we usually call it the Fourth of July and celebrate it with cookouts, games, fireworks and other fun.
In our view, all of us should pause to remember the 56 brave men who adopted the Declaration of Independence and later signed it.
Much has been written about the fate of those men who committed an act of treason against Great Britain by declaring the American colonies to be a free and independent nation.
Five of them were captured by the British as traitors and some were tortured. At least two died in captivity.
Twelve of these successful men saw their homes ransacked and burned. Two lost sons in the Revolutionary Army and another had two sons captured.
It is believed that at least nine of the 56 patriots fought and died from wounds or other hardships of the Revolutionary War.
History tells us that 24 of them were lawyers and jurists and 11 were merchants. Nine others were farmers and large plantation owners.
They were men of means and well educated. Two of them – Adams and Jefferson – later became presidents of the nation they helped establish.
They pledged to each other “our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.”
It should be noted that these were not rough-and-ready frontiersmen. Most were soft-spoken men of polite society.
Most had wealth and social standing but they obviously put a higher value on liberty.
We should remind ourselves again this year that this great national holiday is more than baseball, barbecue and the beach.
It’s about courage, conviction and country.
Happy Birthday, America!