"We hold 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, drawing their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed.''
Two hundred and thirty-one years ago today, a group of Christian men came up with the radical notion--never advanced before in history--something so radical, at the time, they knew to champion it could very well mean, either the loss of what freedom they did enjoy or, at worse, their lives.
"We must hang together", warned Ben Franklin, ''or surely we will hang separately''. And that notion was that the rights of man, the right of every human being to be free, did not flow from the "hand of a Gracious state'' said Thomas Paine, nor was parceled out by some feckless potentate but that freedom was God's gift to humanity; God meant for men and women to have the freedom to determine how they will live.
Moreover, the Founding Fathers believed that their undertaking was not to be considered lightly--and they said as much in stating that "Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient reasons'', but such had long been the abuses of the English Crown. So great was their desire to determine their own destiny, that they were willing to do what had never been done before--challenge the established order, at that time the world's superpower, Great Britian. The very idea! That, in the eighteenth century, the common man/subjects of a monarchy--mere peasants--would have the affrontery to challenge a King and demand--and die--for the right to be free!
Our American Revolution has been the model ever since for all people who have longed to be free. Sometimes it has been tried sucessfully--other times not--but the world has never been the same since.
Here where I live in New Jersey, I'm surrounded by Revolutionary War history. There is so much here: Trenton, Morristown, Monmouth, Fort Lee, Brandywine, Howell. The names and places resonate with Anglican heritage and American patriot spirit!
Today our nation faces challenges to our freedom as never before, from abroad and from within. Our Republic is still strong, but so many forces are tearing at it. We must all remain strong and commited to preserve what so many of those before us gave so much to bring forth.
Study the history of this struggle and pass it on to others: preserve it and cherish it. Remember that America is the only nation ever founded on an idea, a principle. Come to my little state and see where all this began. Look and listen for the shadows and voices of the patriots who gave their all for everything we enjoy today. Those men are still here and they are reminding us, as Samuel Adams did, "We have won us a country, if we can keep it''.
Happy Fourth of July everyone! God Bless America!