Wednesday, July 4, 2012

236 Years ago today – Happy Birthday, America!

Some years ago DH and I stopped at a little diner on Highway 17 in Pierson, Florida on our way to our weekend house on the St. John’s River in Welaka. We sat down in the booth, placed our order and waited for the food to arrive. On the wall above the salt and pepper, ketchup and napkins there was a sheet of paper. No, it was not a menu or any other words of the proprietor. It was The Declaration of Independence just as it appears here. I was rather excited to see it, because I could not ever remember reading it. DH proceeded to recite the first sentence, “When in the course of human events…” that he had memorized for his role as Thomas Jefferson in a play in grade school. Fifty years later he could still remember the Words. I on the other hand had not learned them though I’m sure they were hung in every elementary school classroom of mine, and I was keenly interested to read the Words in this special document that so many men had signed at the risk of their Lives, their Fortunes and their sacred Honor.

So I started to read it - out loud - with a look of approval from DH. It’s a lengthy document with long sentences, and several times I ran out of breath before the period finally came. I tried to give it all the deference at my command with proper diction though the ancient script made it none too easy. Still etched in my memory are the many times when my emotions would suddenly jump to my throat, choking the flow of words, and bringing tears to my eyes, blurring the page before me. I am not a person who cries in front of others, since hiding my emotions is preferable to showing my emotions. However, several times the Words of this Declaration forced me to pause to regain my composure which caused me to realize that being an American has consequences even for those of us who haven’t paid much attention. These Words held meaning and power in my life. These Words, penned so arduously and prayerfully by fifty-six men long since dead who were faithfully representing the people back in their home colony and by so doing were committing those people – farmers and shopkeepers and their families - to a war against the greatest power on earth, these Words cut into the deepest part of me, a part of me of which I was unaware – the Patriot. Growing up in America inculcates the soul with a love of country that though not entirely unique is exceedingly profound even if we Americans don’t fully realize it. Reading the Words that brought about my Beautiful America out loud was quite an amazing experience. Click HERE to be amazed yourself.

Signers Declaration_independence


  1. Masterfully written...just reading it brought me to tears as I can see how deeply you feel on this subject and you know how meaningful it is to me. Thank you for "your thoughts", I'm proud to your friend and to be an American!


  2. Sherry, even though I've seen the Declaration many times, I've never read it in its entirety. Your post makes me realize I need to do this. Thanks for a powerful and inspiring post.