Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Independence Day 2017

Happy 4th!

It is my favorite summertime celebration. It is a time to celebrate the struggle and freedom that we, as 
Americans, enjoy on a daily basis. These are the same freedoms that others would attempt to deny us because they do not understand how fundamentally important these freedoms are and how strongly we will defend them.

Thomas Jefferson
I read a great article in the Washington Post yesterday about Thomas Jefferson's last public letter. The letter was written on June 24, 1826, just a few weeks before Jefferson died on July 4th, the 50th anniversary of the signing the Declaration of Independence. 

Jefferson had been invited to a celebration in Washington D.C. to honor Independence Day and the signing.

Roger Chew Weightman, the mayor of Washington, had big plans for a Fourth of July celebration. He sent invitations to the three surviving signers of the Declaration — Jefferson; John Adams, who was 90; and Charles Carroll of Maryland, 88 — along with former presidents James Madison and James Monroe.

Jefferson's health prevented him from attending and he wrote a letter. Jefferson's letter expressing his thanks for being invited and regrets for being unable to attend contain some profound words which are applicable to our own Independence Celebration today.

Jefferson wrote:

Having to decline the invitation makes being sick even harder to bear, he continued. He longed to meet once more “with the small band, the remnant of that host of worthies, who joined with us on that day, in the bold and doubtful election we were to make for our country, between submission or the sword.” It’s good to know that “our fellow citizens, after half a century of experience and prosperity, continue to approve the choice we made.”

“all eyes are opened, or opening to the rights of man. the general spread of the light of science has already laid open to every view the palpable truth that the mass of mankind has not been born, with saddles on their backs, nor a favored few booted and spurred, ready to ride them legitimately by the grace of god. these are grounds of hope for others. for ourselves let the annual return of this day, for ever refresh our recollections of these rights and an undiminished devotion to them.”

Let us always remember the vision that the Founding Fathers had for our great nation. Despite the occasional detours along the road of freedom, let us be vigilant and also quick to defend that vision.

Happy 4th. May independence be always in your heart.

-- Bob Doan, writing from The Oasis of the Seas somewhere in the Caribbean Sea

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