By the Evening of July 4, 1776

Many days and even years led up to the Declaration of Independence. Thomas Jefferson did not write this in a few minutes and the delegates to the Continental Congress voted immediately. There was much discussion among these representatives for what they should do in response to the atrocities leveled by the king of England. Many people were against declaring independence.

Battles were already raging between the colonists and the British soldiers in 1775. They were fought in Massachusetts and the cities of Lexington and Concorde even though war had not been declared. The British hired Hessian soldiers to fight against the colonists. These were German mercenaries who would fight on behalf of anyone who would pay them.

About that same time., Thomas Paine published a pamphlet called “Common Sense.” He attacked the idea of King George imposing his laws on the colonists. Approximately150,000 copies of that pamphlet were sold in America. On June 7, Richard Henry Lee of Virginia proposed a resolution for independence.

In the Declaration of Independence, Jefferson wrote that all people are equal in the eyes of God. He also said the government only existed by permission of the people they govern. He went further to say that the British treatment of the American colonies violated natural laws of God which was more powerful than that of a king. The colonists complained about British soldiers being housed in their homes and the excessive taxation that was levied on them.

Today we celebrate July 4 with picnics and fireworks. It is highly important for us to realize the by the evening of July 4, the Second Continental Congress initiated a resolution for independence that was an extremely serious step. By signing the document, the delegates became traitors to Britain. History tells us that each of them suffered in various ways including the loss of their wealth, their families, their homes, and in some cases their lives. These men paid a serious price for our freedom. That became the template of those who represent America in any war against any enemy.

As we observe this evening, take a moment to realize that the fireworks not only represent a celebration, but the sound they make also represents the gunfire in battle by our ancestors who believed in freedom. In your celebration, pause to give thanks for what these men did in the government they outlined by which we still stand. We are America, the United States, that stands against tyranny whether at home or abroad. This evening of July 4 is our time to reflect on the courage of our forefathers. It is our time to rededicate ourselves to the principles on which the Declaration of Independence was written.

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