There were times in the last year or so that I thought we were really having to sacrifice due to what was going on around us with the pandemic. Businesses closed down, no travel, difficult to find what you needed for your home. Of course, you follow that up with the snowstorm to end all snowstorms. The times were certainly stressful and, yes, there were sacrifices that had to be made. Who can forget the search we all made for toilet paper? Looking back, I have to ask was it really sacrifice or an inconvenience?
The great Ronald Reagan wrote:
“56 men came forward to sign the parchment. It was noted at the time that they pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honors. And that was more than rhetoric. Each of those men knew the penalty for high treason to the crown. ‘We must all hang together,’ Benjamin Franklin said, ‘Or assuredly, we will all hang separately.’ And John Hancock, it is said, wrote his signature in large script, so King George could see it without his spectacles. They were brave. They stayed brave through all the bloodshed of the coming years. Their courage created a nation built on a universal claim to human dignity. On the proposition that every man, woman, and child had a right to a future of freedom.”
Those early patriots may have come from different backgrounds and different walks of life, but they were united by a belief in a simple truth: that we are all created equal, that we are all endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these rights are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
By signing the Declaration of Independence, the fifty-six Americans pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor. It was no idle pledge—nine signers died of wounds during the Revolutionary War; five were captured or imprisoned. Wives and children were killed, jailed, mistreated, or left penniless. Twelve of the signers houses were burned to the ground. Seventeen lost everything they owned. No signer defected—their honor like their nation remained intact.
As we celebrate the greatest experiment in Freedom and Democracy this coming weekend, take a moment to remember what sacrifices were made for us. From the signing of the Declaration of Independence to the Revolutionary War, the founders of this nation gave all they owned for what they truly believed in. Their true sacrifice should not be forgotten.