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07-02-12, 01:01 #1
Happy Birthday, America!
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Independence Day, commonly known as the Fourth of July, is a federal holiday in the United States commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, declaring independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain.
Dump the tea; drink a cup of good old Joe
Across America today, people will gather for barbecues in their backyards, parades through their towns and firework displays lighting up the night sky.
On this day in 1776 a group of 13 colonies broke away to found a new nation free to govern itself as it saw fit, pledging that each citizen would have the unalienable right to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”. A nation, as Americans are apt to declare without equivocation, which became the greatest on the face of the earth.
Have you ever wondered what happened to the 56 men who signed the (US) Declaration of Independence?
Five signers were captured by the British as traitors, and tortured before they died. Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned. Two lost their sons serving in the Revolutionary Army, another had two sons captured. Nine of the 56 fought and died from wounds or hardships of the Revolutionary War. They signed, and they pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honour.
What kind of men were they?
Twenty-four were lawyers and jurists. Eleven were merchants; nine were farmers and large plantation owners, men of means, well-educated. But they signed the Declaration of Independence knowing full well that the penalty would be death if they were captured.
Carter Braxton of Virginia, a wealthy planter and trader, saw his ships swept from the seas by the British Navy. He sold his home and properties to pay his debts, and died in rags. Thomas McKeam was so hounded by the British that he was forced to move his family almost constantly. He served in the Congress without pay, and his family was kept in hiding. His possessions were taken from him, and poverty was his reward.
Vandals or soldiers looted the properties of Dillery, Hall, Clymer, Walton, Gwinnett, Heyward, Ruttledge, and Middleton.
At the battle of Yorktown, Thomas Nelson, Jr., noted that the British General Cornwallis had taken over the Nelson home for his headquarters. He quietly urged General George Washington to open fire. The home was destroyed, and Nelson died bankrupt. Francis Lewis had his home and properties destroyed. The enemy jailed his wife, and she died within a few months.
John Hart was driven from his wife's bedside as she was dying. Their 13 children fled for their lives. His fields and his gristmill were laid to waste. For more than a year he lived in forests and caves, returning home to find his wife dead and his children vanished. A few weeks later he died from exhaustion and a broken heart. Norris and Livingston suffered similar fates.
Such were the stories and sacrifices of the American Revolution. These were not wild-eyed, rabble-rousing ruffians. They were soft-spoken men of means and education. They had security, but they valued liberty more. Standing tall, straight, and unwavering, they pledged: "For the support of this declaration, with firm reliance on the protection of the divine providence, we mutually pledge to each other, our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honour."
They gave you and me a free and independent America. The history books never told us a lot of what happened in the Revolutionary War. Our forefathers didn't just fight the British. They were British subjects at that time, and they fought their own government! Some of us take these liberties so much for granted...and we shouldn't.
So, let's take a few moments while enjoying our 4th of July holiday and silently appreciate these patriots and thank the God who moved them. It's not much to ask for the price they paid.Too Many ads? Becoming a member of Autopia has its privileges. Sign up here .
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