This Friday we celebrate America’s 238th birthday. On July 4th, 1776, fifty-six brave men gathered in Independence Hall in the city of Philadelphia to sign the Declaration of Independence. Driven by the mounting restrictions and taxation placed on them by the Mother Country, these patriots risked “their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor,” by signing the document that declared the original thirteen colonies to be a self-governing body free from the oppressive rule of England.
Patrick Henry, a radical leader from Virginia who helped prepare the way for the Declaration of Independence, drew this line in the sand during a speech delivered to the Virginia Convention in 1775, “I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death!”
These fifty-six founding fathers were dedicated and determined men. They were ready, as Patrick Henry said, to die for the cause of freedom. Many of them did! Of the fifty-six courageous signers of the Declaration of Independence, many did not survive the Revolutionary War.
- Five were captured by the British and tortured before they died.
- Nine others died in battle or from injuries received.
- Twelve had their homes sacked, looted, burned, or occupied by enemy forces.
- Two lost sons in the war.
- One had two sons captured.
The price of freedom was high for these men, and they willingly paid it.
I wonder if any of the fifty-six signers would recognize the America we’ve become. Be that as it may, the seeds of America’s greatness, though dormant in the soil of liberty, still exist. These seeds are deep-seated convictions planted in the hearts of freedom-loving Americans: the belief in God, the love of country, the diligent spirit of self-reliance and responsibility, and the guiding principle “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.”
America has fallen on hard times. The light of liberty has faded a bit. The crown of its glory is tarnished somewhat. The country has lost its moral compass. But with God’s help, America can get back on track and become once again “the land of the free, and the home of the brave.” While some are ready to give up on America, I think this country of ours is still worth fighting for. The world is still in need of a, “Shining city upon a hill whose beacon light guides freedom-loving people everywhere.”
So fight for your country. Mostly, pray hard for it, “God bless America, land that I love, stand beside Her, and guide Her through the night with a light from above.” America’s continued greatness depends upon it.
Pastor Todd Weston