What does the Fourth mean to you?

What does the Fourth of July mean to you?
Growing up that was a simple answer: a parade followed by a festival in the park, a hot summer day filled with ice-cold watermelons and snow cones and a spectacular fireworks display at night.
Sound like a good time?
When you think about the Fourth of July do you think about treason? Would you be willing to give up everything you own, even the people you love and risk your very life for an idea, a way of life contrary to the status quo?
That is exactly what delegates did when they signed the “Declaration of Independence.” They were committing treason against the Crown, they were saying “we freely give up everything that we have because there are things in this life, ideals, that are more important than we are.” In the most basic sense, each person who signed the “Declaration of Independence” was signing a death sentence.
Why would they do this? Simple, just read the words of the “Declaration.”
“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.”
This is more than just some happy thoughts. It is a call to action. You see people are not made for the government, the government is made for the
people. “That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers
from the consent of the governed.” The words that follow spell out a person’s obligation when the unalienable rights are not observed.
“That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such
principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness”
So what were our Founding Fathers saying? The British Government had failed to observe these
basic rights- life, liberty, pursuit of happiness and it was the duty of the people to abolish the status quo.
Revolutionary ideas? Yes! Bold? Yes! Treason?
Most definitely. The “Declaration” goes on to cite specific examples of Britain’s tyranny.
I love the way the “Declaration” concludes “And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our
Fortunes and our sacred Honor.”
That is what the Fourth of July meant in 1776, men giving their lives, their fortune and their honor for a better way of life for those who followed them.
I encourage everyone to read these words, again and again. History becomes distorted when we fail to study it and apply it to our lives.
So, what does the Fourth of July mean to you?

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