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Letters to the Editor

Independence Day event extols America's freedoms

Declaration's impact felt in 21st century

Max Baumgardner
Max Baumgardner

John Hancock, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Ben Franklin, and 52 other patriots signed the Declaration of Independence in 1776. (They all didn’t sign it on July 4, even though we usually focus on that as the signing date.)

That document is possibly the most important ever produced in what is now the United States of America. Have you ever thought about what that document signing did for you and your family?

Do you own real estate or a car or a TV set?

Do you have some savings for rainy days and retirement?

Do you have kids in Little League or high school athletics?

Have you attended college or do you have offspring now attending?

Have you been on a jury or maybe even been tried by a jury?

Have you sat and mused in your lawn chair about what is “truth”?

Do you regularly – or, at least, periodically – attend a house of worship?

Do you own an iPhone, an iPad, or a DVD player?

Those are just a few of the tremendous number of things that we – as Americans – can own or do just because we are Americans and we are free.

This year, the Franklin Grove Area Historical Society is again having some of your neighbors express to you – and other patriots – “What does freedom mean to me.” They will be participants in the July 4 program at the Chaplin Creek Pioneer Village south of Franklin Grove.

The neighbors will include a teacher who has been teaching children with special needs for 22 years and is now teaching children with autism; a former coordinator of information services for the Smithsonian Institution; a pro football player who was on a team that won the Super Bowl; and an active member of a local historical society.

There also will be appropriate patriotic music (including a brass band), colony flags and American flags, and praises to the Founding Fathers for leading the way to our freedoms.

And then I hope you will marvel – as I do – with the actual reading aloud of the Declaration of Independence by Tom Wadsworth. This is the 10th consecutive year that Mr. Wadsworth has been at the podium to give voice to our great document.

Please join us as we celebrate this event. The program starts at 9 a.m. July 4 and lasts about 1 hour. There will be refreshments after the reading, and you will be able to talk with the other patriots before heading home for your family holiday celebrations.

Please call me at 815-632-7843 if you have any questions about this event. 

As John Adams stated about the Declaration of Independence: “It 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 shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations from one end of the continent to the other.”  

We agree.

Note to readers – Max Baumgardner is a member of the Franklin Grove Area Historical Society and writes the programs for the Independence Day celebration at Chaplin Creek Pioneer Village, 1715 Whitney Road (about one-fourth mile south of Franklin Grove on the west side of the road).

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