Sunday, July 4, 2010

A thought on our freedoms and founding fathers and fourth of July

I love Fourth of July. Ever since I was a teenager it's been my favorite holiday. Even more than say...Christmas or Halloween. It is such a patriotic and spiritual holiday. It's poignant and meaningful and you know what else? It draws all americans together. We love our oblong food (Hot dogs, Popsicles, Corn, Shisk A Bobs) and we love our fireworks! 

Traditional Barbecue shiskabob dinner at the Shaffer household!
My mom bought these beautiful flowers which looked just a like a bunch of fireworks! They were GORGEOUS

But past the traditions of our modern days, we have a true love for this country. This country that 364 of the other days of the year we have a tendency to gripe and moan about. But on this day, we love it. We cry over the marches of John Phillip Sousa, we sing songs about this beautiful land from california to New York, from Georgia to Oregon, North to South, East to West. We all sing the same songs, Cry over the same stories, Thank those who came before us or are here now who sacrifice/sacrificed so much to give us what we have today. 

I love American History. I can't get enough of reading about the start of our great nation. Our Founding Fathers were fascinating men to me. And they gave so much for this country, America.
Fifty-six men from each of the original 13 colonies signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. Nine signers were immigrants, two brothers, two cousins. One, an orphan. Their ages ranged from 27 to 70.
There were merchants, businessmen, farmers, professors, doctors, lawyers and even judges. Most were Protestant, while there was one Roman Catholic! (Charles Carrol) They had been educated at schools such as Harvard, Yale, William & Mary, and Princeton! Seventeen of the signers fought for the revolution! Some were generals! Five were captured by the British. Nine died during the revolution. They never saw the birth  of their dream, America. Some lost their sons in battle. Some had their beautiful grand homes looted and burned or taken by the enemy.
I believe it's safe to say that their very words from their sacred declaration, "Our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor," were not said in vain rhetoric.
These men went on to do great things. Two of the signers would be presidents. A few more would be vice. And many would be in congress, judges, etc. These were not wild eyed, rabble-rousing ruffians. They were soft-spoken men of means and education. These men who had the courage to stand up when tyranny was in their face. When they knew that what their own government was doing was wrong.

And their legacy lives on. Men and women have gone on to sacrifice everything. My grandpa fought over in Italy. My cousin flies to keep us safe. And my brother is over in Iraq doing his duty and protecting our freedoms and rights. And for them I am grateful. I am grateful for the men and women who give so much where so much is needed to be given. And on this fourth of July I hope we can say a little prayer of gratitude for the people who have allowed us to have so much.

Sources: Robert Lincoln, Lives of the Presidents of the United States, with Biographical Notices of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence(Brattleboro Typographical Company, 1839); John and Katherine Bakeless,Signers of the Declaration (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1969); Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1774-1989 (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1989).