In a letter to his beloved wife, Abigail, John Adams – one of the five colonists assigned to write the Declaration of Independence – wrote that the document “ought to be commemorated, as a 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.”
John Adams wanted this nation and its people to be free. And for 237 years, our nation has remained free.
You and I have been free to move about the country without requiring government approval.
We’ve been free to worship as we want without having any government impositions.
We’ve been free to study whatever subjects interest us, and we can also select to study subjects that will allow us to gain the knowledge needed for making a living.
Wherever we were born, whatever were our financial circumstances at birth, we have remained free to choose to accept those conditions or work to change them.
How many of the 192 sovereign countries on earth today provide the same opportunities that we have in the United States of America? You may be able to name a few like Canada, Great Britain, and Australia, but even those have more restrictions than we experience.
Sure, our taxes seem to be fairly high at times, and yes, gas prices seem outrageous. Even if our public debt is nearly out of control, we still remain free. How can we account for this remarkable set of circumstances?
Maybe we need to thank John Adams and the other Founding Fathers. They gave to us a tremendous start by writing the most defining document there ever was written for an infant nation – the Declaration of Independence.
In the document, they declared that “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.”
Think of those words. You and I individually possess “unalienable rights.” They cannot be taken away from us because they were given to us by our Creator, not Congress, not the president, not the courts.
The Declaration of Independence has now been read aloud for 11 consecutive years at the historic site in Franklin Grove. Each time I hear it read, I marvel at the words that so elegantly set this country free. Maybe, just maybe, you will also marvel if you attend this year’s event.
Please consider coming to hear it read on July 4 as Tom Wadsworth, once again, reads this magnificent document. Bring lawn chairs and plan to stay for some refreshments. The program lasts only about an hour, and you’ll leave feeling refreshed about living in these United States.
Note to readers – Max Baumgardner is a member of the Franklin Grove Historical Society and writes the programs for the Independence Day celebration. The event will begin at 9 a.m. July 4 at Chaplin Creek Village, 1715 Whitney Road (about one-fourth mile south of Franklin Grove on the west side of the road).