On this day 235 years ago - July 1, 1776 - the motion being debated on the floor of the Continental Congress read :
"...That these United Colonies are, and of a 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."Have you ever thought about what these men were really debating? Have you ever REALLY thought about the circumstances and time that they lived? The King George III was not like the benevolent figure-head Royals that appear in the supermarket tabloids of today. Just having the discussion could be considered treason against the Crown and a capital offense which is why no official record of the debate was kept....it was simply too dangerous.
On July 2, 1776, a vote was taken, and independence declared. It would take two days to finalize the full text of the Declaration. It was a document like no other in history, and it would change the course of history. Stop and think about that. When was the last time that you read this document? Have you ever? It doesn't take long.....just a few minutes. There was no need for frilly or fancy phrasing. In a few concise words, these men told the world that on this land there was a new nation - and explained all of the things that they had tried to do to prevent this necessity.
While you are enjoying this long weekend, take some time to reflect on the freedoms that you enjoy and what those men risked to give them to you. Think about the men and women who have fought and died to ensure the continuance of those freedoms and the sacrifices of their families. If you are at all thankful for those freedoms (and you should be), ask yourself what you are doing to express that gratitude and ensure that those freedoms live another generation. If you've got kids, let them know that there is more to this day than a barbecue.