“When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation…And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.” —The unanimous declaration of the thirteen United States of America.
Independence from Great Britain was not hastily or carelessly pursued by our forefathers. Much debate and continued provocation by a tyrannical king caused this deliberate step to be taken. Why did they pledge their lives, fortunes and sacred honor? There came a time when the cost of enslavement was greater than the pursuit of liberty. We need to make much of their sacrifice and the principles upon which our great nation was founded. The same principles need our defense today.
John Adams, a Revolutionary patriot, gave this declaration about Independence Day:
“(It) will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more. You will think me transported with Enthusiasm but I am not. I am well aware of the Toil and Blood and Treasure, that it will cost Us to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States. Yet through all the Gloom I can see the Rays of ravishing Light and Glory. I can see that the End is more than worth all the Means. And that Posterity will tryumph in that Days Transaction, even altho We should rue it, which I trust in God We shall not.” (The Book of Abigail and John: Selected Letters of the Adams Family, 1762-1784, Harvard University Press, 1975, 142).
Other memorable quotes about the principles behind our nation’s founding:
“The liberties of our country, the freedom of our civil Constitution, are worth defending at all hazards; and it is our duty to defend them against all attacks. We have received them as a fair inheritance from our worthy ancestors: they purchased them for us with toil and danger and expense of treasure and blood, and transmitted them to us with care and diligence. It will bring an everlasting mark of infamy on the present generation, enlightened as it is, if we should suffer them to be wrested from us by violence without a struggle, or to be cheated out of them by the artifices of false and designing men.” –Samuel Adams
“I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country.” –Nathan Hale
“They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” –Benjamin Franklin
“Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves.” –Abraham Lincoln
“Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, to assure the survival and success of liberty.” –John F. Kennedy
“A man’s country is not a certain area of land, of mountains, rivers, and woods, but it is a principle; and patriotism is loyalty to that principle.” –George Curtis
“I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!” –Patrick Henry
“In the beginning of a change, the patriot is a scarce man, brave, hated, and scorned. When his cause succeeds however, the timid join him, for then it costs nothing to be a patriot.” –Mark Twain
“America is much more than a geographical fact. It is a political and moral fact – the first community in which men set out in principle to institutionalize freedom, responsible government, and human equality.” –Adlai Stevenson
It is with great honor and gratitude for our country that we remember Independence Day here at George Washington Inn. We seek to build on the nation’s cornerstones that were laid by our founding fathers and the early patriots. As George Washington stated, “The preservation of the sacred fire of liberty, and the destiny of the republican model of government, are justly considered deeply, perhaps as finally, staked on the experiment entrusted to the hands of the American people.”
Perhaps it’s time for us to refresh ourselves on what the Declaration of Independence stated and commit ourselves again to this noble experiment which has been entrusted to us.