As July 4, 2013 approaches, I feel compelled to post the Declaration of Independence, and some other facts about the Founders, as a reminder of the importance of this date 237 years ago when a group of men decided it was time to break all ties with the King of Great Britain and begin the formation of a new governmental ideal — Liberty — to which was added Life and the Pursuit of Happiness.
I recommend that everyone take time to read it, which outlines the cause, the justification, and the impending actions they were about to take.
I also added a short list of some of the sacrifices suffered as a result of their actions; sacrifices that many have freely given down through the 237 years since the Declaration was promulgated to the world. Let us never take for granted the blessings we have today, the sacrifices of many to preserve the Liberty we cherish that have prevented our living under the a tyrannical government.
May we always as stated in the Holy Scriptures, “Stand fast in the liberty wherewith God has set you free, and do not be entangled in the yolk of bondage.”
Declaration of Independence
[Adopted in Congress 4 July 1776]
The Unanimous Declaration of the Thirteen United States of America
When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
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. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to 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. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former systems of government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over these states. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world.
He has refused his assent to laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his governors to pass laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of representation in the legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved representative houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the legislative powers, incapable of annihilation, have returned to the people at large for their exercise; the state remaining in the meantime exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavored to prevent the population of these states; for that purpose obstructing the laws for naturalization of foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migration hither, and raising the conditions of new appropriations of lands.
He has obstructed the administration of justice, by refusing his assent to laws for establishing judiciary powers.
He has made judges dependent on his will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of new offices, and sent hither swarms of officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, standing armies without the consent of our legislature.
He has affected to render the military independent of and superior to civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his assent to their acts of pretended legislation:
For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by mock trial, from punishment for any murders which they should commit on the inhabitants of these states:
For cutting off our trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing taxes on us without our consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of trial by jury:
For transporting us beyond seas to be tried for pretended offenses:
For abolishing the free system of English laws in a neighboring province, establishing therein an arbitrary government, and enlarging its boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule in these colonies:
For taking away our charters, abolishing our most valuable laws, and altering fundamentally the forms of our governments:
For suspending our own legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated government here, by declaring us out of his protection and waging war against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burned our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large armies of foreign mercenaries to complete the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of cruelty and perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy of the head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow citizens taken captive on the high seas to bear arms against their country, to become the executioners of their friends and brethren, or to fall themselves by their hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavored to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian savages, whose known rule of warfare, is undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.
In every stage of these oppressions we have petitioned for redress in the most humble terms: our repeated petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
Nor have we been wanting in attention to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence.They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, enemies in war, in peace friends.
We, therefore, the representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress, assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the name, and by the authority of the good people of these colonies, solemnly publish and declare, that these united colonies are, and of right ought to be free and independent states; that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the state of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as free and independent states, they have full power to levey war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and to do all other acts and things which independent states may of right do. 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.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Their pledge being so dedicated and resolved, some of the Founders did indeed expend all their fortunes and some losing their lives in their effort to institute a government of the people, by the people and for the people; with the ideal of Liberty for all as the foundational ideal of the Government of the United States of America.
Here is a listing of some of those sacrifices:
Two of them became presidents of the United States, and among the others were future vice presidents, senators, and governors. But not all were so fortunate.
Nine of the 56 died during the Revolution, and never tasted American independence.
Five were captured by the British.
Eighteen had their homes — great estates, some of them – looted or burnt by the enemy.
Some lost everything they owned.
Two were wounded in battle.
Two others were the fathers of sons killed or captured during the war.
Lewis Morris of New York, for example, must have known when he signed the Declaration that he was signing away his fortune. Within weeks, the British ravaged his estate, destroyed his vast woodlands, butchered his cattle, and sent his family fleeing for their lives.
Another New Yorker, William Floyd, was also forced to flee when the British plundered his property. He and his family lived as refugees for seven years without income. The strain told on his wife; she died two years before the war ended.
Carter Braxton of Virginia, an aristocratic planter who had invested heavily in shipping, saw most of his vessels captured by the British navy. His estates were largely ruined, and by the end of his life he was a pauper.
The home of William Ellery, a Rhode Island delegate, was burned to the ground during the occupation of Newport.
Thomas Heyward Jr., Edward Rutledge, and Arthur Middleton, three members of the South Carolina delegation, all suffered the destruction or vandalizing of their homes at the hands of enemy troops. All three were captured when Charleston fell in 1780, and spent a year in a British prison.
So should it be when we Pledge our Allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America – The American Flag – that we too resolve our lives, fortunes and sacred honor.
This Flag, the American Flag, is the emblem of civil and religious liberty and well deserves a place of honor whereever it’s citizens meet. It is our fervent hope that we citizens will stand ever ready to shield and protect it, as we fostere and promote that Divine Principle of which it is a symbol throughout the world.
Divine Principle — Liberty, to which our Founders added Life and the Pursuit of Happiness.
The ideal of liberty motivates our patriotic zeal and loyalty to the Flag and our Country. And, when our liberty is threatened, that same motivation drives to stand as ramparts of liberty, taking up the sword of freedom to protect it and those who swear or affirm their allegience to the Flag and to America – The United States.
That Divine Principle – Liberty – was of primary concern to our Founding Fathers when they were searching for a foundational ideal upon which to build our great country; a divine principle that would be symbolized in the flag of the new nation.
The Founders were well read, highly intelligent leaders, some men of the Cloth who were aware of the many philosophical ideal upon which to create a country. They knew about Plato’s writings in The Republic; they knew about Scotland’s quest for freedom from England. They knew about a letter written from Scottish Leaders called the Declaration of Arbroath, sometimes called the Declaration of Independence of Scotland, in which there is a single line that defines their ideal for America:
“It is in truth not for glory, nor riches, nor honours that we are fighting, but for liberty – and that alone, which no honest man gives up but with life itself.”
Thomas Jefferson reminds us in one of his over 2700 quotations about liberty and other subjects, when in 1787 he said, “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.”
The Flag is a symbol of patriotism.
Congress proclaimed the design of on June 14, 1777. Prior to that there were many designed of Flags in each of the colonies and localities. One of the most common was the “Don’t Tread on Me” Flag.
President Wilson officially proclaimed Flag Day on June 14, 1916 suggesting that all American fly the U.S. Flag to show our allegience and patriotism to the American Ideal. There have been many writings as to the symbolism of the Colors. However, the one that speaks to the patriotic ideals of the Country more appropriately reflects the American Ideal.
Red: our zeal and courage for Flag and all it represents to Americans. It is also symbolic of the blood shed in the preservation of liberty and America.
White: our purity, our honest, our integrity of actions and treatment of others.
Blue: our loyalty (True Blue) to our country and the ideal of liberty.
Upon hearing of President Wilson’s Flag Day proclamation, a noted Washington DC Patriot, journalist and motivational speaker named John Daley immediately wrote a poem called “A Toast To The Flag” in which is symbolized and memorialized the ideal of liberty.
Toast to the Flag
June 14, 1917
Here’s to the Red of it
There’s not a thread of it,
No, nor a shred of it,
In all the spread of it,
From foot to head,
But heroes bled for it,
Faced steel and lead for it,
Their fortitude embedded in it,
Precious blood shed for it,
Bathing it Red
Here’s to the White of it
Thrilled by the sight of it,
Who knows the right of it,
But feels the might of it,
Through day and night?
Womanhood’s care for it,
Made manhood dare for it,
Their integrity sincere in it,
Purity’s prayer for it,
Keeps it so white!
Here’s to the Blue of it
Beauteous view of it,
Heavenly hue of it,
Star-spangled dew of it,
Constant and true;
Diadem gleam for it,
States stand supreme for it,
Their loyalty true for it,
Liberty’s beam for it,
Brightens the blue!
Here’s to the whole of it
Stars, Stripes and Pole of it,
Body and soul of it,
O, and the roll of it,
Sun shining through;
Hearts in accord for it,
Swear by the sword for it,
Their faith unshakable for it,
Thanking the Lord for it,
Red White and Blue
Take a moment today to remember the meaning and symbolism of the U.S. Flag, the millions of Americans who have paid the ultimate sacrifice preserving the liberty we so cherish.
SGT Ed Mitchell Tribute,
Bushnell National Cemetery,
28 May 2013
Show me a Nation that honors its dead, and I will show you a Nation.
A Nation and people who appreciate the legacy they left as well as that Nation’s appreciation for their sacrifices in helping preserve the liberty we cherish.
It is our way of immortalizing them and the lessons they taught us, the memories they left us, and the important, if not great, accomplishments or achievements of their life.
So it is today as we honor Ed Mitchell as part of the Memorial Day weekend as we take time to honor those whom have gone before us, setting that example of patriotism – a love for our country and the ideal behind our existence; the ideal emblematic in our National Colors that led men and women in our quest of Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.
Memorial Day was officially proclaimed on 5 May 1868 by General John Logan, National Commander of the Grand Army of the Republic. His General Order No. 11 in part describes the purpose of Memorial Day and in part our honor of SGT Ed Mitchell. Gen. Logan said it is for:
“preserving and strengthening those kind and fraternal feelings which have bound together the soldiers, sailors, and marines who united to suppress ……… rebellion.”
General Logan also proclaimed that we should guard their graves with sacred vigilance.
In 1915, after presiding over the funeral of a friend and fellow soldier, Lt Col John McCrae wrote the following poem about the American Cemetery in Flanders Fields, Belgium.
John McCrae, 1915
Between the crosses, row on row
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved,
In Flanders fields.
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
Moina Michael was so inspired by the poem that in 1918 she replied with her own poem entitled We Shall Keep The Faith. These four lines pointently supplement the ideals above, as well as making a new proclamation on the importance of honoring veterans, family members and even friends.
We cherish too, the Poppy red
That grows on fields where valor led,
It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies.
(Her entire poem can be read at the end of the tribute.)
Eddie, as most of us knew him, made a personal sacrifice at a time when duty called and Eddie answered the call just like millions of others have down through history. Like many of us who, during the time in our lives when our freedom is threatened, Eddie set aside his personal goals, his vision for his personal future, to be part of that rampart against tyranny, to serve his country.
It is for us, his family and others who remain, to cherish his memory, to never forget the personal sacrifice, the memories of conflict, agony and pain he kept within after he came back home from Vietnam to carry on with his vision and goals for his life, and that of his family.
In a few moments the customary three volleys will be fired, followed by the playing of Taps.
This practice of firing three volleys over a grave originated in the old custom of halting the fighting to remove the dead from the battlefield. Once each side had finished retrieving their dead, they would fire three volleys to indicate that they were ready to go return to the fight.
The fight for us is our eternal quest for Liberty as directed in the Holy Scriptures and, as it says in the Declaration of Arbroath, the Declaration of Independence of Scotland that was used as a template for America’s Declaration of Independence,
”For we fight not for honors, nor glory, nor riches, but for Liberty and that alone, which no honest man gives up but with life itself.”
Taps became the more solemn manner of returning to the fight. As it is played think about these, some of the unofficial words for Taps.
Words to Taps
Day is done,
gone the sun,
From the hills,
from the lake,
From the skies.
All is well,
God is nigh.
Thanks and praise,
For our days,
‘Neath the sun,
Neath the stars,
‘Neath the sky,
As we go,
This we know,
God is nigh.
We miss you Eddie and are honored to have known you during your time on this earth.
We Shall Keep the Faith
by Moina Michael, November 1918
Oh! you who sleep in Flanders Fields,
Sleep sweet – to rise anew!
We caught the torch you threw
And holding high, we keep the Faith
With All who died.
We cherish, too, the poppy red
That grows on fields where valor led;
It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies,
But lends a lustre to the red
Of the flower that blooms above the dead
In Flanders Fields.
And now the Torch and Poppy Red
We wear in honor of our dead.
Fear not that ye have died for naught;
We’ll teach the lesson that ye wrought
In Flanders Fields.
We write and read leadership articles about organizations, most times without specifically mentioning those who are in Government Leadership of our great Country. I think we have to remember and read about those great leaders and leadership who were responsible for the progress and longevity of the United States of America.
After watching President Obama’s Inauguration today, hearing the patriotic songs and Beyance’s singing of the National Anthem, as well as remembering a recent Linked In post on goods and others of past President’s inaugural address, I felt compelled with a patriotic need to post a poem I wrote about our Old Glory, which includes some historical leadership significance and symbolism. I hope you enjoy it.
Old Glory – A Flag of Liberty!
David A. McCuistion
President, Clan Uisdean, USA
U. S. Navy (Retired)
Just a ragged piece of cloth some say,
With no real significance in any way.
Just a rag that in the wind doth sway,
Just an ordinary flag they say.
Then help me understand why,
After so many years and battles does she still fly?
After so many deaths she reigns so high,
And around the world she refuses to die.
Please tell me why if you will,
Her National Anthem gives such a thrill,
When remembering her raising on Iwo Jima’s Hill,
That very sight gives such a chill.
Tell me why citizens cherish her so
And stand ever ready to take up arms and go
Defend that Divine Principle of which we know
Helps the Tree of Liberty continually Grow.
What reason can be found
For rushing to defend her world ’round?
What keeps her from decaying on the ground?
I ask you, can’t you hear the sound?
That sound of Freedom that so loud doth ring!
The sound of God Bless America as we sing!
That sound of courage of Eagle’s wing!
That sound of liberty to which we cling!
This Flag, flown proudly in every American town,
Says civil and religious liberty can be found.
This Flag raised daily to fly above the ground,
Exalted, revered, protected by citizens all around.
Just a ragged piece of cloth some say,
With no real significance in any way.
A Flag of Liberty like no other, I say!
Yesterday, today, always!
Just like Leadership we need to remember, it is not about me, it is not about you, it is about the American way of Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness, as well as the organizations we lead and the articles that we write and about which we speak.
Thank you for your comments.