July 4th, 1776 – Not for the Faint Hearted by Tom Reynolds
On July 4th 1776, the United States declared its independence from Great Britain. It was not some academic effort - it had real world consequences. One of the signers, Benjamin Rush, recalled the moment: “Do you recollect the pensive and awful silence which pervaded the house when we were called up, one after the other, to the table of the President of Congress, to subscribe what was believed by many at the time to be our own death warrants?”
The British had recently put down an insurrection in Ireland and the sentence of the revolutionaries was: “You are to be drawn on hurdles to the place of execution, where you are to be hanged by the neck, but not until you are dead, for while you are still living your bodies are to be taken down, your bowels to be torn out and burned before your faces, your heads then cut off, and your bodies are to be divided into four quarters.”
Of late, our forefathers have come under a lot of undeserved criticism. All but forgotten is the immense personal courage that it took to sign the Declaration of Independence. If the Revolutionary War had failed, perhaps the British would celebrate George Washington day in the same way they celebrate Guy Fawkes day; just another failed revolutionary.
As Americans, we have a lot to be thankful for at Christmas and those that risked their lives to gain us our freedom need to be thanked, not denigrated.