Fourth of July

“When in the course of human events…”

These were the first words Thomas Jefferson wrote in June of 1776 as the opening paragraph of the Declaration of Independence—even while Britain’s massive army was already headed towards New York Harbor.  Jefferson went on:

“When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

It’s somewhat ironic that we’re celebrating our independence as our own nation on Saturday during a time when we need dependence on one another more than ever. But the ideas that drove our separation from Britain could not be more opposite from the division that exists in the United States today.

As colonists in the new world we were in some ways “indentured explorers and settlers” and remained taxed so heavily and without a voice of our own as opposed to the free country we live in today where we all have the ability to reap what we sow, vote for representatives that share our ideas, hopes, and dreams, and a country free of the oppressive rule that Britain exerted then.

It is fascinating and amazing to me that men of such character, courage, vision, and wisdom all lived at the same time and were at the same place with a conviction, foresight, and patriotism to do what they did even though knowing it would mean certain war with Britain. Congress appointed five men to draft the declaration: Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Roger Sherman, and Robert Livingston.

As Saturday arrives, I hope each of you takes time to reflect on the core beginnings of our nation, to celebrate the men and women who ventured to America and would become the United States of America, and give birth to the greatest nation the world has ever seen.