A Time for Reflection

declaration3.gifHave you ever wondered what this historic document might be like had it been drafted by today's leaders? Or the Bill of Rights, or the Constitution, for that matter.

With all of the political dissension of modern times, we might never get one with such eloquence of phrasing, such succinct and appropriate wording, such boldness and imagination, or such quick and decisive action. We might never get one at all. To whom among our current leaders would you entrust this noble effort? This certainly gives pause for appreciation of the founding fathers' brilliant achievement, and what better time than the month of July to review it.

Every school kid has been exposed to this document, and most have read it and passed tests on it. How long since you have read it? Could you pass the test? We're not giving a test, but you can renew your acquaintance with this hallowed declaration by clicking here.

If you would like to read the transcript of the Declaration of Independence, click here.

If you would like to compare it to Thomas Jefferson's “original Rough draught” of The Declaration of Independence, click here.

This would be time well spent.

Byron D. Varner


Ed Note: The following item on the Internet was sent to Keeping APAce by three different people, none of whom knew its origin. But, regardless of who wrote it (and I hope someone will tell us) it is certainly worthy of your time to read it. One of these added the following preface:

“It bears repeating and remembering that freedom is not free. It also bears remembering that the firewall between us and the loss of that freedom remains the Armed Forces of the United States. Of all the people in America who should be free from political intrigue, these are the most deserving. I wish with all my heart members of the Congress of the United States would take this into consideration and grant them the healthcare they have earned by fighting for and preserving that freedom for us all. It is a very small price to pay for the sacrifices they have made and continue to make.”

Have you ever wondered what happened to the 56 men who signed the Declaration of Independence?

  • Five signers were captured by the British as traitors, and tortured before they died.
  • Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned.
  • Two lost their sons serving in the Revolutionary Army.
  • Another had two sons captured.
  • Nine of the 56 fought and died from wounds or hardships of the Revolutionary War.

They signed and they pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor. What kind of men were they?

  • Twenty-four were lawyers and jurists. Eleven were merchants, nine were farmers and large plantation owners; men of means, well educated. But they signed the Declaration of Independence knowing full well that the penalty would be death if they were captured.
  • Carter Braxton of Virginia, a wealthy planter and trader, saw his ships swept from the seas by the British Navy. He sold his home and properties to pay his debts, and died in rags.
  • Thomas McKeam was so hounded by the British that he was forced to move his family almost constantly. He served in the Congress without pay, and his family was kept in hiding. His possessions were taken from him, and poverty was his reward.
  • Vandals or soldiers looted the properties of Dillery, Hall, Clymer, Walton, Gwinnett, Heyward, Ruttledge, and Middleton.
  • At the battle of Yorktown, Thomas Nelson, Jr., noted that British General Cornwallis had taken over the Nelson home for his headquarters. He quietly urged General George Washington to open fire. The home was destroyed, and Nelson died bankrupt.
  • Francis Lewis had his home and properties destroyed. The enemy jailed his wife, and she died within a few months.
  • John Hart was driven from his wife's bedside as she was dying. Their 13 children fled for their lives. His fields and his gristmill were laid to waste. For more than a year he lived in forests and caves, returning home to find his wife dead and his children vanished. A few weeks later he died from exhaustion and a broken heart.
  • Norris and Livingston suffered similar fates.

Such were the stories and sacrifices of the American Revolution. These were not wild-eyed, rabble-rousing ruffians. They were soft-spoken men of means and education. They had security, but they valued liberty more. Standing tall, straight, and unwavering, they pledged: “For the support of this declaration, with firm reliance on the protection of the divine providence, we mutually pledge to each other, our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.”

They gave you and me a free and independent America. The history books never told you a lot about what happened in the Revolutionary War. We didn't fight just the British. We were British subjects at that time and we fought our own government!

Some of us take these liberties so much for granted, but we shouldn't. So, take a few minutes while enjoying your 4th of July holiday and silently thank these patriots. It's not much to ask for the price they paid. Remember: freedom is never free!

I hope you will show your support by please sending this to as many people as you can. It's time we get the word out that patriotism is NOT a sin, and the Fourth of July has more to it than beer, picnics, and baseball games.