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 attended the annual New York Philharmonic concert over the weekend where the British conductor Bromwell Tovey joked that he was very sorry about his country’s role that led to Declaration of Independence and the eventual founding of my country. The United States Marine Drum & Bugle Corps played alongside the orchestra and the concert ended in the rousing march, “The Stars and Stripes.” What a grand finale!
A Story Well Told
I hadn’t read the Declaration of Independence in a long time, so I just went online to re-read it. With the advent of the Internet and computers, 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.”
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 love 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.