On July 4, 1776 a group of Americans approved a document declaring the United States of America free from English rule. This document was the Declaration of Independence, and today we celebrate the 242nd birthday of this courageous action!
When forced, therefore, to resort to arms for redress, an appeal to the tribunal of the world was deemed proper for our justification. This was the object of the Declaration of Independence. Not to find out new principles, or new arguments, never before thought of, not merely to say things which had never been said before; but to place before mankind the common sense of the subject, in terms so plain and firm as to command their assent, and to justify ourselves in the independent stand we are compelled to take. Neither aiming at originality of principle or sentiment, nor yet copied from any particular and previous writing, it was intended to be an expression of the American mind.
I am well aware of the toil and blood and treasure that it will cost us to maintain this Declaration and support and defend these states. Yet through all the gloom, I can see the rays of ravishing light and glory–I can see that the end is more than worth all the means and that posterity will triumph in that day’s transaction.
In all these marked stages of national progress, from the Declaration of Independence to the recent amendments of the Constitution, it is impossible not to perceive a providential series and succession of events.
And President John F. Kennedy’s words about the Declaration are as stirring today as they were when they were originally delivered over 50 years ago:
[The] Declaration unleashed not merely a revolution against the British but a revolution in human affairs. Its authors were highly conscious of its worldwide implications. And George Washington declared that liberty and self-government everywhere were, in his words, “finally staked on the experiment entrusted to the hands of the American people.” This prophecy has been borne out….This doctrine of national independence has shaken the globe, and it remains the most powerful force anywhere in the world today.
As we celebrate the birthday of America today, don’t forget the many sacrifices made long ago by the signers of the Declaration on our behalf! Happy Independence Day!
“[O]n this special day, the birthday of our nation, in the midst of all the joyous celebrations let us take a moment to remember the debt of thanks we owe to those who came before us, to the same God who guides us all, and to the spirit of faith and patriotism which still makes America ‘the land of the free and the home of the brave’.”