Today is not about fireworks or hot dogs or apple pie. Like any great moment, it is about sacrifice.
When this country decided to leave the restricted confines of the British empire, 56 men signed a document declaring our independence.
These 56 men “mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.” Read those words again.
They were willing to give up their lives. Signing that document was an act of treason. Punishable by death. How many of us would sign such a document in the hopes of the idea of liberty? Not actual liberty, but for the concept of true freedom?
They were willing to give up their fortunes. Many of them had numerous holdings in the United Kingdom. Signing that document was zeroing out the balance sheet. They were losing it all. How many of us would give up all that we own for the promise of something never tried?
They were willing to risk their sacred honor. These were men who understood the power of the Exodus, the price of servitude and the sacred nature to freely worship God. How many of us would risk our souls to provide a place where God can be adored by everyone?
These brave men and this brave nation was willing to give up everything in order to implement a government that had never existed in human history. A government of the people, for the people and by the people. A nation self-governed.
Not a monarchy where the leaders rule the citizens. Not a theocracy where the government determines our faith, but a place where any faith can be practiced both in private and public life. A nation of individual opportunity, of individual achievement and individual responsibility.
These men were patriots. They all paid a price. Some were even martyrs for the cause. Here are some examples:
- Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned.
- Nine of them died of wounds or hardships caused by the Revolutionary War.
- Two had their sons die in the Revolutionary War and another had two sons captured.
- Five of them were captured by the British and tortured before they died.
Today is a day of celebration. So, enjoy the hot dogs and fireworks and apple pie.
But, above all else, be thankful for the sacrifice paid by those 56 men who risked everything to change the world.