Independence Day means many things to different people, but for most, it is a time of reflection on our freedom. As each new generation is born, it seems that our country grows further and further away from the truth and reality of what it took and the sacrifices our ancestors made to give us the freedoms we enjoy today.
Thomas Jefferson of Virginia is credited with writing the Declaration of Independence, but he had help with edited corrections from a committee of John Adams of Massachusetts, Roger Sherman of Connecticut, Robert Livingston of New York and Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania. The document itself was divided into five parts, an introduction, a preamble, the body consisting of two sections listing grievances against British rule, and a conclusion. Congress deleted and revised one-fifth of the document, but the rest remained as Jefferson penned it, including the preamble.
Fact: The words "Declaration of Independence" are nowhere in the actual document. The actual title is "The Unanimous Declaration of the Thirteen United States of America".
The most famous passage from the preamble:
"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; that to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed."
It was adopted by the Continental Congress on July 4, 1776 in Philadelphia. This is why we celebrate Independence Day on July 4th across our country. North Carolina was the first colony to vote in favor of independence at their Revolutionary Convention in March 1776.
In fact, on May 20, 1775, the Charlotte area of North Carolina wrote a Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence a year earlier. It contained 27 signatures from the NC counties of Mecklenburg, Rowan and Cabarrus. Captain James Jack carried a report of it to the Second Continental Congress in Philadelphia who thought the declaration was premature. If the Continental Congress had accepted the Mecklenburg Declaration, would another author be as famous as Thomas Jefferson for writing it? How different would things have been? We may have not been as united and successful. Timing definitely makes a difference.
While the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776 is the beginning of our nation's birth, it took fighting for our freedom during the next five years in what became known as the Revolutionary War or the War of Independence against Great Britain.
Most of my story in For Love or Country was set during the last year of the American Revolutionary War. It begins with a Christmas feast and ends a year later at Christmas right after the British surrender to General George Washington. While the story is an historical romance, it chronicles the war as it took place in North Carolina giving an in-depth view of what it was like for Patriots in Wilimington, NC during the British occupation. I include real-life incidents that may interest history lovers.
Britain was a seasoned nation with lots of war experience, a system of government, established funds, and by most standards more stable than our 13 colonies, yet we boldly persevered. We didn't let any of those things stop us as we pursued our freedom. I wonder, would we be so bold today? Would we be so united? I am saddened as I watch our current government make decisions and fight amongst themselves over the most mundane issues.
What would our founding fathers think of us now? I believe they would be proud of how we have tried to honor and preserve the Declaration of Independence and uphold the Constitution, but I also believe they would grieve over the corrupted politics that now rule our nation, the greed that has grown up as tares in our government, and the lack of morales bleeding through the land.
As you take this day to celebrate with your families, share our history, reflect on where we are going, and pray for our nation. Pray for our leaders. The value of our Independence Day--is the inheritance of our nation and the state in which we leave it to our children and the generations to come.
"Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people He chose for His inheritance."