Why do I love her? Why do I stand tall and proud with my hand reverently over my heart when the National Anthem begins to play? Why am I proud to begin every school day saying the Pledge of Allegiance? Why do I cry every Fourth of July as I watch the beauty of fireworks?
This is why:
IN CONGRESS, JULY 4, 1776The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of AmericaWhen 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,
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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 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 levy 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.
We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
Have you ever read the entire Declaration of Independence? Maybe you should. It is an amazing document. I once saw a draft version of it on display at the Library of Congress. It was behind glass, but it was right there. I just stood and cried. I was two feet from the document that shaped, not only a nation, but a world. Did you know that Thomas Jefferson wrote a first hand account of the signing of the Declaration? You can read it here. And, have you read the Constitution? What about the Bill of Rights?