A Memorial Day Tribute
Christian Action League
On July 4, 1776, there was signed in the City of Philadelphia one of America’s historic documents: the Declaration of Independence. It marked the birth of this nation which, under God, was destined for world leadership.
We often forget that, in declaring independence from an earthly power, our forefathers made a forthright declaration of Independence upon Almighty God. The closing words of this document solemnly declare:
“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 fifty six courageous men who signed that document understood that this was not just high-sounding rhetoric. They knew that if they succeeded, the best they could expect would be years of hardship in a struggling new nation. If they lost, they would face a hangman’s noose as traitors.
Of the fifty-six, few were long to survive. Five were captured by the British and tortured before they died. Twelve had their homes, from Rhode Island to Charleston, sacked, looted, occupied by the enemy, or burned. Two lost their sons in the army. One had two sons captured. Nine of the fifty-six died in the war, from its hardships or from its bullets.
Whatever ideas you have of the men who met that hot summer in Philadelphia, it is important that we remember certain facts about the men who made this pledge: they were not poor men, or wild-eyed pirates. They were men of means; rich men, most of them, who enjoyed much ease and luxury in their personal lives. Not hungry men, but prosperous men, wealthy landowners, substantially secure in their prosperity, and respected in their communities.
But they considered liberty much more important than the security they enjoyed, and they pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor. They fulfilled their pledge. They paid the price. And freedom was won.
Someone has said, “To be born free is a privilege. To die free is an awesome responsibility.”
Yet freedom is never free. It is always purchased at great cost.
Little did John Adams know how significant his words would be when he spoke to his wife, Abigail, on the passing of the Declaration of Independence and said, “I am well aware of the toil, and blood, and treasure, that it will cost to maintain this declaration, and support and defend these states; yet, through all the gloom I can see the rays of light and glory. I can see that the end is worth more than all the means.”
To those who sacrificed for our freedom, the end was worth the painful means. Where would we, who are citizens of the United States of America, be today if there had not been those who counted the cost of freedom and willingly paid for it? Where will we be tomorrow if men and women of integrity do not come forward today and pay the price to reclaim a dying America?
Posterity – you will never know
how much it has cost my generation
to preserve your freedom. I hope
you will make good use of it.
– John Quincy Adams
What we obtain too cheaply, we
esteem too lightly; it is dearness only
that gives everything its value.
Heaven knows how to put a price upon
its goods, and it would be strange
indeed if so celestial an article as
freedom should not be highly rated.
– Thomas Payne, 1776
For the support of this declaration,
with a firm reliance on the protection
of the Divine Providence, we mutually
pledge to each other, our lives, our
fortunes, and our sacred honor.
– Declaration of Independence
This article was taken directly from The Rebirth of America, 1986, Arthur S. DeMoss Foundation.