On July 4, 1776 the Declaration of Independence was signed. It has been many years since then (Two hundred and forty-one years ago to be exact.) and since that time our country has changed drastically. Our country is more than thirteen colonies separating themselves from Great Britain. Now, it is fifty states united under one Democratic Republican government. It is estimated that in 1776 our nation was comprised of a little over three million people. Now, it estimated to be over three hundred million people living in the United States. The innovations and technologies have far surpassed those of two centuries ago. We’ve discovered so much about this world…and have learned that there is so much more that we don’t know. We have explored this world, going farther than before, even into the depths of space.
We’re always acquiring more and more knowledge, more and more information. We’re always looking forward, moving forward. But in this, I think we sometimes forget to look back, to remind ourselves of where we come from. I know that we are usually told to look ahead and not to look back. But sometimes looking back is necessary. In looking back we can see how far we’ve come and we can re-appreciate God. In looking back we can see the mistakes our ancestors made and make sure that we do not repeat those same mistakes again. For there to be a future, there must be a past. The past is important to the future. We can’t deny this.
Yesterday was Independence Day, one of the most important days of the year for all United States citizens. But we can get lost in the fireworks and food and socializing with friends and family and forget why it is important. So for this post, I just want to remind everyone why this date, of all dates, is celebrated and considered important in our nation’s history.
In the Independence Hall in Philadelphia, where the Second Continental Congress meeting was held, fifty-six delegates signed the Declaration of Independence. This was no ordinary document. It was a document that would officially state that the thirteen colonies were no longer under Great Britain’s rule, but were now thirteen sovereign states. It was originally drafted by Thomas Jefferson and edited by Congress. It was believed by John Adams that July 2, 1776 would be the date celebrated for the years to come for that was the date that Congress had voted to declare independence from Great Britain. But it was July 4th, when the Declaration of Independence was approved and ratified, that is celebrated to this day.
Congress did not come to such a decision lightly. They tried many other ways to solve their conflict with Great Britain, but none of them worked. So finally, they declared themselves a sovereign nation apart from Great Britain. In doing so, they declared themselves willing to fight for their rights and their liberties. They weren’t backing down; they were taking a stand.
It came at a cost. This stand the Continental Congress took progressed into a war that lasted for years. Many, many lives were lost. A new nation, one not even fully formed, was fighting against one of the most powerful nations in the world. As we look back now it must be hard to imagine how hard it was to wage such a war since we already know the end outcome. But they didn’t know how the war was going to turn out. To them, it must’ve seemed like a pretty hopeless battle. And that makes our nation’s history seem so much more incredible. Our nation thought that their freedom and the freedom of the generations to come was worth their lives.
Let’s not put their sacrifice to waste. Let’s live up to our nation’s history. We should be proud of the fact that we can call ourselves Americans. It is a very special privilege.