When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another . . .
Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776
So begins the Declaration of Independence, drafted as a fledgling nation warred against the greatest, mightiest empire in the world. It was said that the sun never set on the British Empire, but the drafters of that great declaration believed otherwise. They were so set on independence from an overbearing, overburdensome, and overextended empire, they were willing to pledge their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor to prevent that British sun from continuing its rise over the American continent.
Together with General George Washington, countless other appointed leaders, and the thousands of continental soldiers willing to fight for this same freedom, our founding fathers embarked on what might have been the greatest longshot in the history of the world – a modern David vs. Goliath fight for freedom from tyranny.
Many future Americans supported the cause of independence, while many others opposed it, seeing no path to victory and believing they would prosper under the protective shield of King George’s armies and navies.
(How great is freedom that neighbors and even family members can have differing viewpoints, while still living in harmony amongst each other? Certainly not all neighbors and families lived in harmony during the Revolutionary War, but the opportunity and blessing existed, and still does.)
The fight for independence was not easy. The armies often found themselves on the verge of defeat, in the depths of depression and desperation, and many even fought barefoot in the middle of winter because their boots had no replacements for their worn boots.
Eventually, and not without great suffering and the loss of many lives and fortunes, the ragtag Continental Army handed the British a defeat that would change the world. Independence had prevailed. Citizen soldiers and militias beat back the professional fighting forces of Great Britain, and even the ferocious German Hessians, to prove to the world that independence trumps tyranny always.
Mark Twain said something to the effect of,
“it is not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog.”
Our founding fathers, the soldiers, and the citizens who supported (morally, financially, and otherwise) their efforts had “fight.” Their small physical size and limited numbers mattered not because their determination and commitment to independence loomed larger than life, and they prevailed.
Today, with great fanfare, we still celebrate that day our independence was declared to the world, when those God-inspired founders determined to create a land of freedom, opportunity, safety, and security.
Perhaps the most memorable and cited section of the Declaration of Independence is this –
“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.”
Have we as a nation forgotten what it means to be free and independent? Have we forgotten what the rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness mean for us, our families and our nation today? Have we forgotten that we are still endowed with those rights by God, not by government?
I fear many of us look to Washington, D.C. as the new god, a creator and protector of all. An entity that gives and takes; that sets standards; that determines what rights matter and what rights must be retired; that is all-knowing, all-powerful, and all-encompassing.
While so many look to Washington as their divine leader, have we forgotten our true God, that God whom our founding fathers acknowledged as the Great Grantor of all things Good and Sacred?
George Washington was known to often turn to God in prayer, seeking strength and fortitude, both for himself and his soldiers, and also for his nation. A story, depicted in the image above, as related by Quaker Potts goes something like this:
“He said, ‘It was so and I was a rank Tory once, for I never believed that America c’d proceed against Great Britain whose fleets and armies covered the land and ocean, but something very extraordinary converted me to the Good Faith!” “What was that,” I inquired? ‘Do you see that woods, & that plain. It was about a quarter of a mile off from the place we were riding, as it happened.’ ‘There,’ said he, ‘laid the army of Washington. It was a most distressing time of ye war, and all were for giving up the Ship but that great and good man. In that woods pointing to a close in view, I heard a plaintive sound as, of a man at prayer. I tied my horse to a sapling & went quietly into the woods & to my astonishment I saw the great George Washington on his knees alone, with his sword on one side and his cocked hat on the other. He was at Prayer to the God of the Armies, beseeching to interpose with his Divine aid, as it was ye Crisis, & the cause of the country, of humanity & of the world.
‘Such a prayer I never heard from the lips of man. I left him alone praying.“
Who among us is willing to acknowledge God as the Grantor of our rights, asking in earnest prayer for strength and fortitude to defend our lives, our liberties, and our righteous pursuits? Who among us is willing to recommit to independence, not through a declaration of actual war, but through a declaration of the same principles outlined in the original Declaration of Independence? And who among us is willing to fight for these rights, not physically, but through our words and actions?
How many of us are willing to fight to maintain our independence from the tyrannical government in Washington that seeks daily to assert more control over our lives? How many of us are willing to commit our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor to stand up and proclaim what we know to be true, a return to the foundations and fundamentals outlined in the Declaration of Independence and codified in the United States Constitution?
Today we see too much discord, dissention, and derision between people of all walks of life and backgournds, much of which is kindled by our so-called leaders in Washington. There’s been a lot talk lately about what role our government should play in our lives. This discussion matters, and should be subject of debate and discourse, but there is no place for our government to kindle these divisions. There is no place for our government today to be committing so many of the same despicable acts outlined in the Declaration of Independence. Read it, and then decide for yourself how similar Washington today is to the Great Britain of old.
The fight for independence we celebrate today continues. We must fight every day to retain and maintain our freedoms and our rights.
Ronald Reagan said this, way back in 1967 –
“Freedom is a fragile thing and it’s never more than one generation away from extinction. It is not ours by way of inheritance; it must be fought for and defended constantly by each generation., for it comes only once to a people.”
My friends, my dear brothers and sisters of this great nation –
NEVER GIVE UP THE FIGHT!