Donald Chisholm: From an Open Window – Philadelphia 1776
It was a sweltering hot afternoon. A small crowd had gathered around an open window to hear the most exciting and wonderful news. Shade from a large tree gave them some relief from the Philadelphia heat as they waited in anticipation of a final reading of the most courageous and world-changing document the mind of free men had ever conceived. The Declaration of Independence had been in the drafting stages for days and was finally ready for the last reading before the congress would vote by signing and secure it with their very lives and fortunes. It was late afternoon on this Thursday July 4th.
The all present buzzing of flies was soon drowned out by the loud and clear voice coming through the open window. Some of the fathers lifted their children on their shoulders to hear the immortal first lines.
“When in the course of human events it becomes necessary to dissolve the political bonds …” With this opening statement the hangman’s noose was placed around every neck inside the room.
The crowd outside was growing larger and their reward was great as the most important declaratory document in human history freely flowed for all to hear.
“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 power from the consent of the governed.”
The crowd outside the open window was growing larger and the excitement and wonder of the American revolution was about to engulf all the world. It took seven more years of war in the life-and-death struggle to make the promise of freedom come true. Many revolutions around the world were attempted and all failed without the great and basic truths that Jefferson, Adams and Franklin declared to be self-evident for all men to follow. Truths that man was created by God, with the right to Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. Words brought into reality with the courageous leadership of George Washington and the men and women who waged what they believed to be a just war for freedom.
Sadly today, revolutions are coming before these great truths are known. The reason for the life-and-death struggles are unknown to those who must suffer and and die for revolution for revolution’s sake that ends in the power for the few. Where the love for freedom and the right to God-given human life is denied, the tyranny of the few will overcome.
As a great nation, unique in its founding genius and freedoms, we can and should put down our cellphones, our electronic devices and turn off the TVs that tell us we are a greedy and failed nation. We can go out in the hot sun and tell the world to listen to the wonderful news still coming out of that 1776 open window. With all of our human faults we still are the greatest nation the world has ever known because we still believe and trust we were endowed by our creator.
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