Defiant act set course toward freedom today

Published 8:00 pm Tuesday, July 3, 2012

In school, students sometimes have been required to learn the preamble to the U.S. Constitution and the opening of the Declaration of Independence.

     Once memorized for whatever class assignment, the words often fade from memory and are only recalled later with the help of a Google search. Such is the case in the age of technology.

     But long before there were thoughts of computers and other modern marvels, 56 men signed their names to the Declaration of Independence in defiance of the British monarchy. For the cause of freedom, these patriots in 1776 pledged their lives, fortunes and sacred honor.

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     On Wednesday, we as a free nation will celebrate the signing of the Declaration of Independence and the birthday of our country.

     While fireworks, food and fun will highlight our festivities, we would be wise to remember what the Declaration signers were doing when they affixed their names to the historic document. They were defying the king and risking whatever consequences might come.

     For their rebellious act, they became targets of British anger. Five of the signers were captured as prisoners of war, others had their homes burned and many of the formerly wealthy lost their fortunes in the course of the ensuing American Revolution. 

     Still today, we have people who put their lives and personal comforts on the line to ensure the freedoms that we derived as a result the Declaration of Independence.

     They are called soldiers. They endeavor to ensure liberty at home and they help to spread the cause of freedom around the world.

     So as we go about enjoying Wednesday’s holiday, let’s take a moment to remember the patriots who have helped make it possible.

     As we celebrate the historic action of 1776, we also can take time to reflect on more recent events with the landmark decision handed down by the United States Supreme Court last week. We have yet to know the ultimate direction the health care decision will take this country, but there is no doubt that there will be many, many changes.           

     The great wonder of the event 236 years ago that birthed this nation is that it created a system that allows citizens to react peaceably when they disagree and seek changes – through the simple action of casting a vote.

     Four years ago voters made decisions that set the stage for the Supreme Court’s decision of last week. In November, voters will again have the opportunity to voice their opinion on the direction the country is moving.