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Reflections on Independence Day
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Here in the warm afterglow of the Fourth of July, 2014, is a good time for cerebration as well as celebration, when it comes to our Independence Day.
  Thinking about the significance of the Declaration of Independence proclaimed by our forefathers on July 4, 1776 requires us to be conversant with what came before and after that milestone event in American history.
  Unfortunately,  too many Americans prefer contemporary popular culture over American history. They see our history as “drab and dull.” They are wrong, of course, but entitled to their own erroneous beliefs, here in “the land of the free.”
  Actually, history is anything but drab and dull. Properly taught and learned, history is bright and colorful. It is full of fascinating people, places, causes, events and issues. Our knowledge of American history arms us with a sense of where we came from, who we are as a people, and on whose shoulders we stand as a nation.
  The Declaration of Independence has been hailed worldwide as one of the “greatest statements of human liberty ever written.” And rightly so. Mainly the work of Thomas Jefferson, its rhetoric rings out across 238 years to inspire us still. “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."
The argument of the Declaration is both bold and cogent. “That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed-That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”
  The Declaration goes on to enumerate “the causes which impel them to the separation,” with the facts aimed squarely at “The King of Great Britain.” The Signers closed with these provocative words, “And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.”
  The brave men who signed the Declaration of Independence knew it would take even braver men to fight and win the war already begun with Great Britain. Victory would transform their hopes and dreams of freedom into reality. Defeat would deal them and their cause a death blow from their vindictive foes.
  More on the American Revolution and its aftermath later. For now, I hope my vast reading audience is enjoying  a Happy, Safe Independence Day weekend.
Retired Army Col. Thomas B. Vaughn can be reached at tbvbwmi@blomand.net.