Independence Day: A Time for Reflection

It’s Independence Day today in the U.S. where I live. It’s one of the only holidays that is still celebrated on the actual date, July 4th, that we declared our independence from Britain.

I hadn’t read the Declaration of Independence in a long time, so I just went online to re-read it. Are school children still required to memorize these indelible lines?

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.

Pledging our Sacred Honor

That sentence begins the second paragraph but it is probably the most famous line in that sacred document, laying the foundation of our democracy.

The Declaration is written in the florid style of the day, but there is no mistaking the meaning of these famous words, written with palpable intensity:

“We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States … with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.”

I rejoice in the last line, “… we pledge our sacred honor.” It’s hard to imagine a business executive or government official today writing with such heartfelt feeling.

There is no time in a frenzied world to luxuriate in the written word — to read something for its brilliance or compassion. I’m glad I read the Declaration of Independence again. The words will live in eternity.

This post is adapted from the one I wrote on this site seven years ago. It seems even more relevant than ever today with a country and a world in turmoil.

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  1. Beautiful tribute that captures the essence of the true meaning of our country and the spirit of Independence Day. Nothing is as exciting as seeing the Declaration of Independence up close at the National Archives.

    Happy 4th of July!

  2. It’s been years since I pulled out my replica copy of the declaration and read it, Jeannette. Thanks for the reminder. I just returned from a trip to Wales and one visiting Englander said, “Oh you rebels.” It cracked us up, but yes, we were.

    I wish all the elected members of our government had to read the Declaration and write an essay on it before they can run for office.