On July 4th, we commemorate the signing of the Declaration of Independence, the document that marked the emergence of the United States as an independent, self-governing nation, guided by the principle of liberty.
We remember the men who signed the declaration, but we should also remember those men and women who also played an important part in our history, like the Marquis de Lafayette, a French aristocrat, who came to America’s aid and fought valiantly beside George Washington to win our independence. Lafayette was an American hero who was outspoken with his most-cherished American friends — including George Washington and Thomas Jefferson — in his belief that slavery was an abomination and should be abolished.
It’s important to remember that the freedom we value today
was earned by the bravery of many men and women putting their lives, reputation
and personal property at risk, to collectively affirm:
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."
In 1776, as copies of the Declaration
spread through the states and were read aloud at town meetings, religious
services and public assemblies, Americans marked the occasion with celebratory
rituals. They lit huge bonfires, "illuminated" their windows with
candles, fired guns, rang bells, removed the symbols of the monarchy from
public buildings, churches and taverns, and decorated the walls of their homes
with newspaper copies of the Declaration of Independence.
This year, in the midst
of the COVID-19 Pandemic, our celebration will require us stay socially
distant, to use masks, to gather in safe, small groups, and even quarantine
ourselves if necessary. All actions that
are meant to protect our friends and family and yes, strangers, to stop the spread
of this unseen enemy. So even though we
will celebrate in a different way this year, let us toast to our country’s
independence and teach our children the reason for the celebration and the
responsibility we have more than ever to be our brother’s keeper.
May God Bless America. May God Bless us all.
CHRISTOPHER WYATT DRUM
May 25, July 2,