Happy Independence Day!
Today is the day I give thanks for the 56 men who signed what could only be called their own death warrant.
They sacrificed their safety, their fortunes and livelihood. I recognize that this group of white men--educated and privileged weren't perfect. I'm sure out of the 56; I may have only liked a handful. We know thanks to our history lessons, among them were slave owners, alleged rapists... They were imperfect, but they were also risk takers.
The decisions that they made on a hot and humid July in Philly were the catalyst for change. A paradigm shift that still reverberates across our country and around the world. The documents and the ideas that came from this meeting and the conversations that continue, have provided me far more than they could have ever imagined.
As a country, we have made some startling changes since these 56 signed their names. It stops me in my tracks to think that the choices of these few could enable me to have so much.
Jeff and I took the Beauties for a walk on the beach today. In between watching Serena win at Wimbledon, gluten-free beer and hot dogs, and of course watching some guy eat 70 hot dogs in an eating contest on Coney Island, we did try to discuss the real Independence Day. I asked the Beauties what they were thankful for: It's my family so of course the comments always have a touch of the random...
Ian was thankful for his sister, Big Mac's and religious freedom.
Norah was thankful for her education.
Jeff just laughed at me for trying to make a family walk into a philosophical discussion. Then he said, "that our children can be anything they choose to be."
My list was a little too long... But I always come back to my right to vote. Because if you can't vote, you can't get anything changed.
Because of 56 men who signed a document that started a revolution of thoughts, ideas and progress.
I was born free. I have never know a moment when I didn't have the freedom to worship freely. To read what I wanted. To pray however I choose. To attend school. I had the freedom to work. I worked in a bar. That job afforded me the best pay and schedule to attend college. I interacted with men and men who were not my family. I wore clothes like a bathing suit, mini-skirt, halter top, that others would deem sexy or even inappropriate. I went to bars, flirted, drank alcohol and danced. I had the choice to marry who and when I wanted. I married the man I loved regardless of his education, religion, gender or color of his skin.
I vote. Own property. Drive a car. Openly discuss my faith and where I attend religious services without fear of reprisal or persecution. I choose my political ideologies and can argue openly. I have the ability to travel unaccompanied throughout the country by driving my car or flying without an escort. I have my own bank account, credit cards and credit rating. I can drink anything from diet coke to a scotch or anything in-between. I work and get paid for my work and talents. I made the ultimate decision about the size of my family--I wasn't limited by government pressure, imposed religious ideology, or the will of my husband. I have chosen where I live, what media I read or watch, I listen to the music or talk radio that I choose.
I can use a computer. Surf the internet. Write and publish what I believe without worrying about a government agent knocking on my door.
It is humbling to list all these amazing freedoms I have in light of all the struggles we face here and around the world...
All these freedoms I enjoy, come from the seed planted 240 years ago, when 56 brave men signed their names to a Declaration of Independence.
It just goes to illustrate that a few can dramatically change the world for the many.
Happy Independence Day,
Photo Credit: Mr. PilgrimagGal