“WE DECLARE” — You might start a sentence that way if you want to be emphatic, definite, and to say something of importance.
We did. We did!
Americans did, and we’ve acknowledged that Declaration on July 4th ever since. It’s a real holiday! And we all spend some time figuring out what we’re going to do on this holiday to show our happiness and thanks for our nation.
A “few” years ago I had my first baby on this date! Happy Birthday, Daughter! She has all kinds of plans for today. She and her little family live near Lake Tahoe, on the shores of beautiful Donner Lake, and so her house will be filled with all kinds of friends – all day, she said! – coming over for birthday treats, BBQ’s, hot tubs, swimming, and then morphing into Fourth of July fireworks . . . . Whew!
And me? Well. Well, well, well. Here in the Far North I was informed by Daughter in the Far West, thousands of miles away, that MY fireworks have been canceled!
Huh?, I said.
Sure enough. When I checked our local news source on the Internet, our Fourth of July fireworks have been postponed to . . . New Year’s Eve! Too dry here now, so I guess we’ll have to wait for our snow cover. Can’t burn snow.
So that leaves me with a quieter Fourth. I really “took a holiday” and did whatever I wanted to do. I planted my roses today. They are red, white, and – uh, purple. Purple roses are nice. Enjoyed a patriotic, spy-versus-spy, American special ops action adventure type of book. (Cold Shot by Mark Henshaw) Read as long as I wanted!
I had some time to brush up on what this is all about. Revolutionary War stories.
This is where our Founding Fathers did our “declaring.” As far as I know, we are the only nation that started ourselves out with a declaration that we are going to be a nation. And then there’s that responsibility to stick with the idea, to uphold the principles and values were used to create this nation. “A republic, madam, if you can keep it,” said Ben Franklin.
Here are the famous words of John Henry Lee, the representative from the colony of Virginia: “Resolved: That these United Colonies are, and of a 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.”
That did it! The colonies declared their separation from the British Crown. Kind of like stepping off a cliff and knowing you’ve got to fight to survive the Fall in order to become a nation. Someone had to write out this Declaration; the job fell mainly to Thomas Jefferson, but all the representatives weren’t satisfied until they made it plain that they need the Almighty’s help to survive this Leap off the cliff and to come up stronger together.
And so this line was added: “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.”
As we battled and scraped our way into young nationhood, everyone knew we needed God’s help.
Our Founding Fathers were somewhat more confident then, after that declaration was completed and began to be signed. The day was July 2nd.
A joyful John Adams next declared: ” The second day of July 1776 will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the Day of Deliverance by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations from one end of this continent to the other from this time forward forever more.”
Well, I did my “solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty” yesterday, and now I can’t wait until New Year’s Eve to celebrate. I’ll watch all the noise and lights and fireworks on television. It’s dark here now, but still light out in California. Good thing it took a few days to finish signing that Declaration of Independence –
— or else my daughter would have been born late for her own birthday!
Happy Fourth of July, Everyone!