FOCUS: Independence Day – July 4

What does it mean to be independent? I always like to refer to Mr. Webster to find the full meanings of words. Independent:  1. Not subject to the authority of another. 2. Not dependent on or part of some larger group, system, etc.: an independent union. 3. Not an adherent of a party or faction: an independent voter. 4. Not influenced or guided by others. 5. Acting so as to manage one’s own affairs; self-reliant. 6. Self-supporting. 7. Having a competence; also, constituting a competence. Independence:  1. The quality or condition of being independent. 2.  Sufficient income for one’s needs; a competence.

Independence Day is a special day, July 4th, set aside commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. The United States became independent which allowed America to set up the laws governing our country. This day is really special as we are making many changes in the laws by which our country was founded. Many know all about the Declaration of Independence, but it never hurts to reflect on who, what, why and where something is designed.

Thomas Jefferson was the author of the document, Declaration of Independence, and was a member of the committee of five chosen to comprise a list of grievances which was to be sent to King George III. If you go to the internet, you will find this long list of reasons why the colonies in this new land decided to form their own laws and be free to live by them. The committee was chosen to represent the 13 colonies in America. Those chosen were:  John Adams of Mass., Roger Sherman of Conn., Benjamin Franklin of Penn., Robert Livingston of NY and Thomas Jefferson of Va.

The Declaration of Independence is the most cherished symbol of individual liberty. The document was written with a summary of a list of grievances against the King in order to justify before the world the breaking of ties between the colonies and the Mother Country. This is the unanimous Declaration of the thirteen United States of America. The first line of the document states the following:  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. The reference to happiness was explained that all people should live in freedom to pursue their dreams, choice of work, choice of religion and the freedom to take care and defend their families.

As I read the list of grievances, I am reminded that our Declaration of Independence should be read by all Americans to understand the reasons we need to be aware, never complacent, and understand that our government answers to us the people. If we do not feel our government is following the laws of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, we have the right to remove them from office. The government is bound by the Constitution with our governing laws and should not tell us what they want us to do outside of the laws we are governed by. The first thing someone will say is the interpretation of how the laws were set up can be clouded. Read the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence and see how the laws were designed.

There are 26 copies of the Declaration of Independence. Twenty-one are owned by American institutions, two are owned by British institutions, and three are owned by private owners. Of course, the original is in Washington, DC and on display for all to see.

The first person to sign the Declaration of Independence was the President of Congress, John Hancock. For your information, Thomas Jefferson, the author, died on July 4, 1826, as did John Adams who signed the document. Can you imagine how hard it must have been to be involved with such a major part of changing the course of America’s history?

I would urge everyone to read the entire Declaration of Independence and the entire Constitution and see how much thought, time and devotion it took for our forefathers to seriously look with vision to the future of America. Are we following their guidelines? As you read these documents, are there things that you think should be changed? Do you think our leaders are making changes that take us away from the laws that made America successful? Do you feel that such changes are necessary for the future of America? These are questions one needs to find the answers to as we move forward.

We the people tell the government how we want to be governed. If you have not registered to vote, do so. You need to make your voice heard. If you do not vote, you should not complain that you do not like the way our country is moving. Everyone has the God given right to be heard. Everyone has the God given right to vote their choice in elections. Now is the time to celebrate our independence. Now is the time to protect our independence. Never sit back and let those who govern take your independence away from you. Use your God given right to speak out, to vote your choice and remember that there are millions before us that were willing to die to make sure we have the freedom to be independent.

As you celebrate this 4th of July, take a moment to give thanks for all that makes the United States of America special. Remember those who gave their lives for our freedom to celebrate this great land. Look at the American flag and reflect on what it means to you and to those who live throughout our land. America is the home of the brave, the fallen, the free, and those who are still in battle across many lands to secure the rights of others. America is the country welcoming, legally, all who wish to be citizens. America is free because our forefathers had the wisdom, the honor, the fortitude, the love of God and country to secure America’s future. How lucky we are to be free to celebrate. Let us never forget what it is to be free and let us be determined to make sure future generations have this legacy that has been designed for all who live in the United States of America.

The significant aspect of the Declaration of Independence is that it changed the American “rebellion” against Great Britain into a “revolution.” From April 19, 1775 to July 2, 1776, the war was being fought so the colonists could regain their rights as Englishmen which had been taken away by the British from 1763 to1775. On July 2, 1776, the Continental Congress approved the resolution by Richard Henry Lee from Virginia that “these United Colonies are and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, and they are absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown and that all political connections between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved.” This was truly a revolutionary statement. John Adams felt that July 2 would be the day of celebration. July 4th was the day chosen as our Independence Day.  I have our Preamble in this article two times because it is so special and has been the truth since our forefathers approved the final wording of the Declaration of Independence when it was signed in August of 1776.

Our Preamble states: “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.” Government shall be Of the people, By the people and For the people. We the people should pay more attention to our Declaration of Independence and know that our government works for us. If we do not pay attention, our freedoms will be dependent on what our government dictates. We need to pray to our God that America remains One nation Under God with Liberty and Justice for ALL.

The City of Buckhannon will have Fireworks at Jawbone Park on Friday, July 2nd and will have venders with goodies, food and entertainment as well. Bring your chairs and family for this July Independence Celebration. Make some extra time to acknowledge the over 700 banners showcasing our Military men and women who have served their country so we might continue to celebrate our Independence. God Bless all those who served and died for the right of Americans to be free.

America has many problems; and it is time we communicate through discussion not violence. America needs peace not war. We need to pray for our nation to resolve our differences with a peaceful attitude, not hostility. Our laws have been put into place to keep our nation safe. We need to respect others even when we disagree with their ideas. We have the right to free speech, the right to a free press and it is time we as a nation respect those rights in an honest and peaceful manner. Maybe we should use this phrase more often. This rule is found in the Bible and is known as the Golden Rule. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Matthew 7: 12. Maybe our nation would be less violent if we stopped and repeated these words before our actions. With all the violence and the changes that are now taking place in America, do you feel independent? We ask for God’s blessings on our land. It is time for us to be worthy of God’s blessings on America.

I leave you with these words from James Kennedy. God loves America. When you consider what He went through to bring our forebearers to this magnificent land, and when you realize what He accomplished in bringing forth a new nation on this continent—a government founded on Christian principles and dedicated to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness—you have to realize that He had a dramatic vision and purpose for this nation.

God Bless America!


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