On this 4th of July, 2010,.....
It was a typically-hot and humid early July in Philadelphia, 1776. For many, especially the representatives from cooler Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island, it was down right uncomfortable.
But the discomfort from the oppressive summer heat was taking a back seat to another, more insidious oppression: King George III of England had rebuffed entreaty after entreaty from his colonial subjects to reduce taxes, allow more trade and freedom to control their destinies in the New World.
The colonists had suffered enough! After weeks of tested wills, dueling views of a future united colonial system and opposing agendas, the fiery Protestants of New England, the pacifist Quakers of Pennsylvania, the forgiving Catholics of Maryland and the duplicitous Georgians and Carolinians finally came together and made the following joint statement:
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. —
And that is what these men from 13 disparate colonies did: they dissolved, once and forever, the political bands of control from England. No one had done it before, nor had they ever thought to do such a thing!
Then they took and even bolder step: they signed their names to this document, knowing and agonizing that they would now be the enemy of King George's forces, subject to death for thinking such seditious thoughts!
Those men did survive and now, 246 years later, that noble moment and the altruistic intent stands as an unbroken blueprint for peace and stability in the world.
So, gentle readers, enjoy a grilled hot dog and hamburger, raise a glass of cold beer, watch parades and fireworks and listen to two centuries' worth of patriotic music.
But don't forget to do this as well: pass along to your children and grandchildren the importance of the great sacrifice these men made so that we may continue to celebrate this day another 246 years from now!