How about a history lesson on this holiday? The Declaration of Independence is a statement adopted by the Continental Congress on July 4, 1776, which announced that the 13 American colonies, then at war with Great Britain, regarded themselves as independent states, and no longer a part of the British Empire. Instead, they formed a union that would become a new nation—the United States of America. John Adams was a leader in pushing for independence, which was unanimously approved on July 2. A committee had already drafted the formal declaration, to be ready when congress voted on independence.

Adams persuaded the committee to select Thomas Jefferson to compose the original draft of the document, which congress would edit to produce the final version. The Declaration was ultimately a formal explanation of why Congress had voted on July 2 to declare independence from Great Britain, more than a year after the outbreak of the American Revolutionary War. The national birthday, the Independence Day is celebrated on July 4, (although Adams wanted July 2).

The immortal words, “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” are considered some of the most recognizable in the English language and still serve as the backbone for many human rights activists and were used in Lincoln’s historical “Gettysburg Address” he delivered on the battlefield after the bloodiest battles of the Civil War.

Since the signing of the Declaration of Independence, the United States of America has committed to protecting the words signed by the forefather’s of the American colonies who signed the paper with the intent on creating a new nation.

“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. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”

And so it continues today, on a day where we celebrate with picnics, beaches and BBQ… recall that it was the vision and bravery of a handful of men that set the foundation for what has been built and carried through by hundreds of thousands of Americans.  A simple declaration that fit on one page, demanding their freedom, and giving birth to a new nation.  A nation still committed to the words and protecting them daily, with great sacrifice.

Let freedom ring.

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