My country, ’tis of Thee,
Sweet Land of Liberty
Of thee I sing;
Land where my fathers died,
Land of the pilgrims’ pride,
From every mountain side
Let Freedom ring.
~My country, ’tis of Thee (1st verse)
by Samuel F. Smith – 1832
According to a 2011 poll by Marist, only 58 percent of U.S. residents know that the United States declared its independence in 1776. Twenty-six percent are unsure, and 16 percent mentioned another date. Meanwhile, just 31 percent of adults 30 years old and under replied that 1776 is the year the United States broke away from Great Britain. But, 75 percent of Americans 45 to 59 were most likely to know the right answer.
Which group do YOU belong to?
And, furthermore, WHY did they declare independence anyway? Does it even matter? The answers lie within the Declaration of Independence. Perhaps now is a good time to read it, at least the first half that is posted here. Some things are worth a moment of reflection and thought. Isn’t that what holidays are about? And in this case, your reflections will remind you of what rights and privileges you are entitled to in this great nation, so they are not taken away due to ignorance.
When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
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. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — 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. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.— Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
Do you know who the author of this is?
The full document can be read HERE.
Here are some interesting facts that will help you appreciate and enjoy your July 4th celebration:
~A major objection to being ruled by Britain was taxation without representation. The colonists had no say in the decisions of English Parliament.
~In May, 1776, after nearly a year of trying to resolve their differences with England, the colonies sent delegates to the Second Continental Congress. Finally, in June, admitting that their efforts were hopeless; a committee was formed to compose the formal Declaration of Independence. Headed by Thomas Jefferson, the committee also included John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Philip Livingston and Roger Sherman. On June 28, 1776, Thomas Jefferson presented the first draft of the declaration to Congress.
~Betsy Ross, according to legend, sewed the first American flag in May or June 1776, as commissioned by the Congressional Committee.
~Independence Day was first celebrated in Philadelphia on July 8, 1776.
~The Liberty Bell sounded from the tower of Independence Hall on July 8, 1776, summoning citizens to gather for the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence by Colonel John Nixon.
~The 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence did not sign at the same time, nor did they sign on July 4, 1776. The official event occurred on August 2, 1776, when 50 men signed it.
~The names of the signers of the Declaration of Independence were withheld from the public for more than six months to protect the signers. If independence had not been achieved, the treasonable act of the signers would have, by law, resulted in their deaths.
~Both Thomas Jefferson and John Adams died on Independence Day, July 4, 1826.
Grand birthright of our sires,
Our altars and our fires
Keep we still pure!
Our starry flag unfurled,
The hope of all the world,
In peace and light impearled,
God hold secure!
~My country, ’tis of Thee (last verse)
May your celebration of Independence today be filled with gratitude and deep love for a country labeled as “The hope of all the world”.