Declaration of Independence Day – A Weekly Remembrance

It’s the 5th of July. It’s Wednesday. It’s a good day to read the Declaration of Independence.

declarationdraftIt’s a good day to celebrate those heroes who gathered in Philadelphia to battle, not with guns and swords and weapons of war, but with beliefs and words and thoughts and arguments.

It’s a good day to ponder the courage of these heroes, who put their lives in jeopardy by daring to sign their names to a treasonous document at risk of being hanged.

It’s a good day to wonder how courageous WE would be under such circumstances.

The 4th of July celebration is over. This year was a 4-day celebration with fireworks and parades and picnics. Now it’s Wednesday – for many, it’s back to the rigors and routine of work and school, or cleaning up the mess left behind, or trying to get the kids back on their normal eating and sleeping schedules.

Will the Declaration of Independence be part of that routine?

Are we putting those Jeffersonian words about “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” back into their boxes on the shelf, until next year?

We designate one historic day each year to serve as our “Independence Day” holiday, but what about the rest of the year? Perhaps, in today’s America, we need to designate one day per week, not one day per year, as a day to reflect on and celebrate the origins of our country.

That day should be designated as “Declaration of Independence Day” – a day set aside to revisit and recall the document that expresses two thoughts on why we assumed a “separate and equal station” among other nations:

  • first, the truths that we hold to be self-evident about the unalienable rights of man, the equality of men and government’s obligation to protect those rights; and,
  • second, the “long train of abuses and usurpations” that invalidated the existing government.

One day each week to be a citizen-hero, to look carefully at what our government is doing and measure it against the ideals of those 56 heroes who dared be traitors so our rights were protected.

One day each week to relive the struggle that was waged within that room to turn beliefs and principles into a real, existant nation.

Declaration of Independence Day – a weekly remembrance.

… or should we just take a weekend for picnics and fireworks and military celebrations?

Read the origins of the Declaration of Independence, including Thomas Jefferson’s account of the days leading to its adoption, at the U.S. Archives site and the site.