Re: OT-What July Fourth Means to Me- Long!
That's marvelous darlin' - gracias!
----- Original Message -----
Sent: 7/3/2004 9:41:12 AM
Subject: [CHAT] OT-What July Fourth Means to Me- Long!
> This was posted on another list... Thought some might want to read
> What July Fourth Means to Me
> By Ronald Reagan
> For one who was born and grew up in the small towns of the Midwest,
> there is a special kind of nostalgia about the Fourth of July.
> I remember it as a day almost as long-anticipated as Christmas. This was
> helped along by the appearance in store windows of all kinds of
> fireworks and colorful posters advertising them with vivid pictures.
> No later than the third of July -- sometimes earlier -- Dad would bring
> home what he felt he could afford to see go up in smoke and flame. We'd
> count and recount the number of firecrackers, display pieces and other
> things and go to bed determined to be up with the sun so as to offer the
> first, thunderous notice of the Fourth of July.
> I'm afraid we didn't give too much thought to the meaning of the day.
> And, yes, there were tragic accidents to mar it, resulting from careless
> handling of the fireworks. I'm sure we're better off today with
> fireworks largely handled by professionals.
> Yet there was a thrill never to be forgotten in seeing a tin can blown
> 30 feet in the air by a giant "cracker" -- giant meaning it was about 4
> inches long. But enough of nostalgia.
> Somewhere in our growing up we began to be aware of the meaning of days
> and with that awareness came the birth of patriotism. July Fourth is the
> birthday of our nation. I believed as a boy, and believe even more
> today, that it is the birthday of the greatest nation on earth.
> There is a legend about the day of our nation's birth in the little hall
> in Philadelphia, a day on which debate had raged for hours. The men
> gathered there were honorable men hard-pressed by a king who had flouted
> the very laws they were willing to obey. Even so, to sign the
> Declaration of Independence was such an irretrievable act that the walls
> resounded with the words "treason, the gallows, the headsman's axe," and
> the issue remained in doubt.
> The legend says that at that point a man rose and spoke. He is described
> as not a young man, but one who had to summon all his energy for an
> impassioned plea. He cited the grievances that had brought them to this
> moment and finally, his voice falling, he said, "They may turn every
> tree into a gallows, every hole into a grave, and yet the words of that
> parchment can never die.
> To the mechanic in the workshop, they will speak hope; to the slave in
> the mines, freedom. Sign that parchment. Sign if the next moment the
> noose is around your neck, for that parchment will be the textbook of
> freedom, the Bible of the rights of man forever."
> He fell back exhausted. The 56 delegates, swept up by his eloquence,
> rushed forward and signed that document destined to be as immortal as a
> work of man can be. When they turned to thank him for his timely
> oratory, he was not to be found, nor could any be found who knew who he
> was or how he had come in or gone out through the locked and guarded
> Well, that is the legend. But we do know for certain that 56 men, a
> little band so unique we have never seen their like since, had pledged
> their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor. Some gave their
> lives in the war that followed, most gave their fortunes, and all
> preserved their sacred honor.
> What manner of men were they? Twenty-four were lawyers and jurists,
> eleven were merchants and tradesmen, and nine were farmers. They were
> soft-spoken men of means and education; they were not an unwashed
> rabble. They had achieved security but valued freedom more. Their
> stories have not been told nearly enough.
> John Hart was driven from the side of his desperately ill wife. For more
> than a year he lived in the forest and in caves before he returned to
> find his wife dead, his children vanished, his property destroyed. He
> died of exhaustion and a broken heart.
> Carter Braxton of Virginia lost all his ships, sold his home to pay his
> debts, and died in rags. And so it was with Ellery, Clymer, Hall,
> Walton, Gwinnett, Rutledge, Morris, Livingston and Middleton. Nelson
> personally urged Washington to fire on his home and destroy it when it
> became the headq uarters for General Cornwallis. Nelson died bankrupt.
> But they sired a nation that grew from sea to shining sea. Five million
> farms, quiet villages, cities that never sleep, three million square
> miles of forest, field, mountain and desert, 227 million people with a
> pedigree that includes the bloodlines of all the world. In recent years,
> however, I've come to think of that day as more than just the birthday
> of a nation.
> It also commemorates the only true philosophical revolution in all
> Oh, there have been revolutions before and since ours. But those
> revolutions simply exchanged one set of rules for another. Ours was a
> revolution that changed the very concept of government.
> Let the Fourth of July always be a reminder that here in this land, for
> the first time, it was decided that man is born with certain God-given
> rights; that government is only a convenience created and managed by the
> people, with no powers of its own except those voluntarily granted to it
> by the people.
> We sometimes forget that great truth, and we never should. Happy Fourth
> of July.
> -- Ronald Reagan, President of the United States (1981)
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