Old Glory flying over beautiful Lake Travis in Austin, Texas
As Americans, we celebrate our independence from the British on this day. July 4th commemorates the approval of the Declaration of Independence in 1776. No it wasn’t signed on this day – just approved. The actual signing didn’t take place until a month later.
Thomas Jefferson was the major author of the Declaration of Independence, but he had help from John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Robert R. Livingston and Roger Sherman. Following the natural rights theory of John Locke, the document proclaimed the equality of ‘all men’ and their ‘unalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness’. The authors wrote that governments were established to secure these rights; when they failed to do so, the people could abolish them. This one statement alone was considered as treason to the British crown.
And so, at the signing of the Declaration of Independence, John Hancock said, “Now we must all hang together.” Always the sharp wit, Benjamin Franklin smilingly stated, “Or most assuredly we will all hang separately.” Funny, the verb ‘hang’ has a whole new meaning in the 21st century.
It’s likely most of you will “hang” with friends and celebrate with a barbeque. Perhaps there will be fireworks – assuming they’re legal in your locale of course. Enjoy a safe holiday!
(2nd photo: Beth Herron salutes the flag during our sojourn in Austin.)