Two hundred and forty years ago a bunch of “terrorists” (one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter) signed the Declaration of Independence in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and declared the founding of a new nation “conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.”
Not everybody in the colonies was in favor of the concept of independence. There were many British born citizens of the colonies who we loyal to the King, and opposed to the band of brigands that were agitating for independence from England. In many cases they were not treated very well for their beliefs. One man’s freedom fighter is another man’s terrorist.
We would not be truly idependent until the end of the Revolutionary War in on October 19, 1871, when Lord Cornwallis surrendered the British army at Yorktown, Virginia. Independence was formally recognized in the Treaty of Paris signed on September 3,1783. The United States Constitution and Bill of Rights was still off in the future (1789.)
This spring I was working in Richmond, Virginia, and had a chance to stay a while and tour Jamestown, Colonial Williamsburg, and Yorktown. Yorktown had a driving tour of the battlefield, trenches, and fortifications. When we got to the place where Cornwallis gave his sword to George Washington, a chill went through me, as I realized that our country had started right there. I still get chills when I think of it, even now as I write this.
So take a minute, in this election year, and remember what it is about the United States that makes it special, different, and inherently better. Are we still that nation? If you don’t like what has happened to this country over the last 15 years, what are you willing to do about it?
Enjoy your family and friends today and take in the fireworks, but remember what this day is really about.