Tuesday, July 22, 2008
“And 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.”
The quote above is the last line of the Declaration of Independence. Fifty-six men signed this document and entered into this pledge. Keep in mind that the Declaration of Independence was not just the announcement of a new nation; it was literally a declaration of war. The “signers” risked all they had and did so against very bad odds. The British Empire was the most powerful in the world; they had a vast navy, disciplined army, stockpiles of arms, huge financial resources, and outnumbered the Americans three to one. The Americans had little money, few arms, and no navy. Still the signers of the Declaration were willing to risk everything. Those men understood the value of liberty and honor. They helped give us an independent nation at great personal sacrifice. We owe them much.
I finished reading 1776 the other day. David McCullough did not romanticize the Revolutionary War; although, his style of writing is beautiful. He presented the facts and proved the point that hand of Providence was ever present in the formation of the United States. Also, without George Washington’s leadership and perseverance, we would have lost the war. I am amazed at Washington’s character; he was intelligent, patient, religious, strong, and humble. He reminds me of Pahoran in the Book of Mormon. Washington was always under attack from his officers and members of Congress, but he never responded rudely or took offence. He took what he had and tried to make the best of it. Washington is an awesome example of enduring to the end. The Continental Army was weak, meager, untrained, and under supplied. At the beginning of year in 1776, Washington had a great victory in Boston. But after that, it was loss after loss, retreat after retreat, and embarrassment after embarrassment. Through it all, Washington never lost hope, and he kept on remembering what he was fighting for. I love what Thomas Paine wrote: “These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in the crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.” Washington stood it, and in December of 1776, he and his army had glorious (and much needed) victories in Trenton and Princeton.
The war went on and Washington continued to lead, but the outcome was nothing short of a miracle. I love America! I am so grateful for all the people who have sacrificed much for this free land. I just hope that I am living in a way that they would approve of. President Benson firmly stated, "For centuries our forefathers suffered and sacrificed that we might be the recipients of the blessings of freedom. If they were willing to sacrifice so much to establish us as a free people, should we not be willing to do the same to maintain that freedom for ourselves and for future generations? Only in this foreordained land, under its God-inspired Constitution and the resulting environment of freedom, was it possible to have established the restored church. It is our responsibility to see that this freedom is perpetuated so that the Church may more easily flourish in the future."
I am sorry for the Sacrament Meeting talk/American Heritage essay (haha), but I wanted to share a few of the thoughts I have had recently. Oh, and Pioneer Day (July 24th) is Thursday. I do not think you want me to get started on that topic.