Today is July 4, the day we celebrate our declaration of independence from Great Britain and if you want the history leading up to July 4, 1776, click here.
Many will celebrate with picnics and barbeques followed by fireworks, but on July 4, 1776, there was no big celebration. From what little we know of that day, it was one filled with much debate, tension and trepidation.
The delegates from all thirteen states (they were no longer colonies, but states), gathered in the Pennsylvania State House. According to notes kept by Thomas Jefferson, it was 68 degrees in the room at 6am and 73 ½ degrees at 9pm. Jefferson took notes on the debate.
Most agreed that they should declare independence from Great Britain for a variety of reasons, but not everyone was sure it was the right time or that they were ready to risk everything they had for the sake of independence. To vote for independence and sign their name to such a document automatically made them traitors to the Crown.
As traitors, they were subject to arrest, beatings and imprisonment. In some cases, the British would confiscate all of a traitor’s possessions – home, business, savings, land – everything. The British also hanged traitors.
Each delegate had to consider what they were risking. It wasn’t an easy decision for some. For others, there was no hesitation that the cause of freedom and independence was worth the risk.
Before the day was through, Jefferson had penned a finalized copy of the Declaration of Independence that all of the delegates has agreed to. One by one, they stepped up, bent down and signed their names.
There was no fanfare, celebration or fireworks. After the signing, some of the delegates headed home and others prepared to join the war with Great Britain that was already waging. Some went home to tell their wives and children what they had done and for their safety they were leaving home for an indefinite period of time, if ever.
I often wonder how many of us today would be willing to sacrifice everything, family, possessions and even one’s life for the sake of freedom? Whether you realize it or not, that’s what our men and women in the military are doing every single day. Could you be ready to do the same for the sake of freedom?
So as you celebrate Independence Day today, take a moment to think of the brave men who were willing to risk it all for your freedom. Take a few moments and pray for the men and women who are currently risking it all for your freedom. Then take a moment and ask yourself if you are willing to do the same.