THE AMERICANS ARE COMING (AGAIN)
by Donna Capurso
Today is the 240th anniversary of the independence of America. There will be barbecues, picnics, parades, gatherings with families and friends, fireworks, and just another work day for those that work in jobs that require 24 hour services, such as police, fire, and medical personnel. Does America really understand the meaning behind the 4th of July other than it was when America declared its independence from Great Britain?
On July 2nd, 1776, a vote was taken by Congress to completely separate from Great Britain. On July 4th, an early draft of the Declaration of Independence was signed by just two individuals, those being the President of Congress, John Hancock and the Secretary of Congress, Charles Thompson. It wasn’t until four days later, on July 8th, that the declaration was read aloud by the members of Congress from the steps of Independence Hall in Philadelphia and the Liberty Bell was rung for all to hear. On top of this bell was an inscription, Leviticus 25:10, “Proclaim liberty throughout the land and to all the inhabitants thereof.”
John Adams (our second president) explained the basis of American Independence when he said, “The general principles on which the Fathers achieved independence were the general principles of Christianity.” As he told his wife Abigail, “It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty.”
John Quincy Adams (our sixth president and the son of John Adams) believed that Christmas and the Fourth of July were intrinsically connected. On the Fourth of July, the founders simply took the precepts of Christ which came into the world through His birth (Christmas) and incorporated those principles into civil government.
Dr. Benjamin Rush, known as the father of American Medicine and a signer of the Declaration, recorded in his diary in 1781 that he wrote to John Adams, “Do you recollect the pensive and awful silence which pervaded the House when we were called up, one after another, to the table of the President of Congress to subscribe to what was believed by many at that time to be our death warrants? The silence and gloom of the morning was interrupted, I well recollect, only for a moment by Colonel Harrison of Virginia (a big guy) who said to Mr. Gerry (small in stature) at the table: ‘I shall have a great advantage over you, Mr. Gerry, when we are all hung for what we are now doing… From the size and weight of my body I shall die in a few minutes, but from the lightness of your body you will dance in the air an hour or two before you are dead.’ This speech procured a transient smile, but it was soon succeeded by the solemnity with which the whole business was conducted.”
There were 56 men who signed the Declaration and do we, as Americans, have any idea what prices they paid to forge the freedoms this country was founded on? 5 signers were captured by the British as traitors and tortured before they died. 12 had their homes ransacked and burned. 2 lost their sons in the Revolutionary Army, another had 2 sons captured. 9 of the 56 fought and died from wounds or the hardships of the Revolutionary War.
What kind of men were they? 24 were lawyers and jurists. 11 were merchants, 9 were farmers and large plantation owners, men of means, well educated. But they signed the Declaration of Independence knowing full well that the penalty would be death if they were captured.
Carter Braxton of Virginia, a wealthy planter and trader, saw his ships swept from the seas by the British navy. He sold his home and properties to pay his debts and died in rags.
Thomas McKeam was so hounded by the British that he was forced to move his family almost constantly. He served in the Congress without pay, and his family was kept in hiding. His possessions were taken from him and poverty was his reward.
Vandals or soldiers or both, looted the properties of Ellery, Clymer, Hall, Walton, Gwinnett, Heyward, Ruttledge and Middleton.
At the Battle of Yorktown, Thomas Nelson, Jr., noted that the British General Cornwallis had taken over the Nelson home for his headquarters. The owner quietly urged General George Washington to open fire. The home was destroyed and Nelson died bankrupt.
Francis Lewis had his home and properties destroyed. The enemy jailed his wife and she died within a few months.
John Hart was driven from his wife’s bedside as she was dying. Their 13 children fled for their lives. His fields and his grist mill were laid to waste. For more than a year he lived in forests and caves, returning home to find his wife dead and his children vanished. A few weeks later he died from exhaustion and a broken heart.
Norris and Livingston suffered similar fates.
Such were the stories and sacrifices of the American Revolution. These were not wild-eyed, rabble-rousing ruffians. They were soft-spoken men of means and education. They had security, but they valued liberty more. Standing tall, straight and unwavering, they pledged: “For the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of the Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other, our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.” They took this pledge seriously.
These men provided freedom and liberty for us, and they must be shedding tears from Heaven above, watching what has become of our country. It will be up to us to bring the foundations of freedom back into our lives.
Liberty & freedom should always be treasured,
Their value & worth can never be measured.
Cherish & protect them is what we must do,
Stand strong for our country – our red, white and blue.
Patriotism is more than a state of mind,
It is more than a word, more than a time
It dwells in our heart, it lives in our soul
Be proud to display it & let everyone know
Our love of country shall never waver,
We will fight to the end to always save her.
Love of God and Country we celebrate today,
And what our Founding Fathers had to say.
“The Americans are Coming” so don’t despair
Be faithful, stand tall, and always care.
By Donna Capurso
Donna Capurso is the owner of Selkirk Mountain Real Estate in Moyie Springs, ID.