Independence Day: Why Freedom Rings

A long time ago, the original North Americans, Native American tribes, were visited by “strange houses” that floated on the water.

Over the ensuing centuries, many countries would lay claim to parts of what is now the United States.  Thirteen English colonies eventually were clustered up and down the east coast; the ancestors of those colonists had escaped the tyranny of the old world for the chance to carve out a new life in this new one.  But tyranny seldom loses its “stink” and freedom is never free.

In Independence Hall, where the Liberty Bell is now housed, Richard Henry Lee of Virginia presented a resolution with the famous words, “Resolved: That these United Colonies are, and of 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.”

Work was begun on drafting of a formal Declaration of Independence.  But even then there was discord among the citizens of what would become the United States of America.  In other words, we really weren’t “UNITED” even then.

Consideration of Lee’s resolution was delayed by a vote of seven colonies to five, with New York abstaining. John Adams of Massachusetts, Roger Sherman of Connecticut, Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania, Robert R. Livingston of New York and Thomas Jefferson of Virginia formed a committee to draft what would be called The Declaration of Independence. Jefferson did most of the actual work.

The Continental Congress reconvened on July 1, 1776, and on July 2, the Lee Resolution for independence was adopted… but only by 12 of the 13 colonies, New York did not vote.  There were some minor changes in Jefferson’s Declaration but the spirit of the document did not change and late in the afternoon of July 4, the Declaration was officially adopted.

Of the 13 colonies, only nine voted in favor of the Declaration, two … Pennsylvania and South Carolina, voted No.  Delaware couldn’t make up it’s mind and New York abstained.

John Hancock, President of the Continental Congress, signed the Declaration of Independence  “with a great flourish” so England’s “King George can read that without spectacles!”

Finally, on July 4, 1776, the frustrated and angry colonies threw off the shackles of their oppressors and declared their independence from England.  The result was a long and bloody war to defend that ideal of independence.

Fast forward to 1812 and we had to teach the British another lesson… we meant what we said.  Fast forward to 1861, we ripped the United States apart and had to put it back together.  Fast forward to the future, to today… The United States still is divided in thought, attitude, direction and most of all in sensibilities.

Probably over the years, many Americans saw this country’s citizens stand together… not so much for something as against something.  For me it was 9/11, we stood up… together… for the innocent… for those that died… and we stood up against the animalistic ideology that killed them.  However, like the cries of “Remember The Alamo”… our memories became too uncomfortable to last.  But like the Alamo, which was rescued as it sat in ruins and often used as a stable for horses and mules… magic is possible.

Clara Driscol, with “a considerable sum of money saved the Alamo for her native state and the United States.  It was, and is, the most noted relic of the Texan and Mexican War times. The old monastery and fort was about to be sold, and the ground used in the erection of modern hotel. Had it not been for Miss Clara Driscol, a successful author of magazine stories, and her offer of sixty thousand dollars… the Alamo would have been destroyed.  THAT would have made it impossible for her to live the state.”

So, this 4th July is not just a time for burgers and franks… it is not just a holiday.  Cook those burgers and franks, go to the lake, enjoy the family and enjoy your freedom.  But stop for a moment during the day and ponder this: had our ancestors not stood up for freedom, had they not defended freedom… the 4th of July would just be another day on the British calendar and you would be eating fish and chips and drinking your ale by the pint.

NEVER, EVER doubt the ability of one determined heart to change the direction of history.  Scary ain’t it?