“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable 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.”
How many of our children or grandchildren would recognize those words from the original Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776? On this day let us recall that these words, utterly unprecedented at that time, would inspire and sustain the struggle to create the American republic. The concept that a people could govern themselves was nothing short of revolutionary at a time when rulers held absolute power and most of humankind was under the yoke of bondage and oppression.
The importance of preserving this legacy of liberty for generations to follow cannot be overstated. It must not be taken for granted nor should we abdicate our responsibility to teach these founding principles to our children and grandchildren. At this time in our history may we be reminded how fragile this idea of freedom is by Ronald Reagan’s warning, “Freedom is never more than one generation away from its extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on to them to do the same.”
As we celebrate our 246 years of self-rule, let us embrace this legacy of freedom, renew our commitment to safeguard it for those who will succeed us, and give thanks to our gracious and loving Almighty God whose blessing has made it possible.