Sunday, July 4, 2010
Happy Independence Day - July 4th!
I sit here listening to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir sing, "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" and "The Star Spangled Banner" and watching fireworks on this, our nation's 234th birthday. This day commemorates what was essentially a grand experiment that, at the time, had little chance of succeeding. How could a country that had no standing army or navy beat what at the time was one of the most powerful countries in the world? How did a rag tag band of farmers and merchants overcome a highly trained professional army? It was a struggle every step of the way. There were times when its very existence was far from secure.
The 56 men who signed their names to the document knew that by doing so they were in essence signing their own death warrant if the war did not succeed. Yet still they wrote, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." It was no idle promise when in the Declaration of Independence they said, "And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor."
A few short years later many of these same men came together to save the fledgling country they had create from falling apart. To have these men living at this time was nothing short of the "divine providence" that so many of them spoke of. At the time, Benjamin Franklin said, "I confess that there are several parts of this constitution which I do not at present approve, but I am not sure I shall never approve them: For having lived long, I have experienced many instances of being obliged by better information, or fuller consideration, to change opinions even on important subjects, which I once thought right, but found to be otherwise. It is therefore that the older I grow, the more apt I am to doubt my own judgment, and to pay more respect to the judgment of others...I doubt too whether any other Convention we can obtain, may be able to make a better Constitution. For when you assemble a number of men to have the advantage of their joint wisdom, you inevitably assemble with those men, all their prejudices, their passions, their errors of opinion, their local interests, and their selfish views. From such an assembly can a perfect production be expected? It therefore astonishes me, Sir, to find this system approaching so near to perfection as it does... I consent, Sir, to this Constitution because I expect no better, and because I am not sure, that it is not the best."
I love this country that I was blessed to be born in. I understand that there are millions of others who do not have the same rights and privileges as I do. I also know that with these great blessings come great responsibilities. I must do my part to help this country fulfill its divine destiny. I must take the opportunity to voice my opinions, to vote, and to honor those who defend this country.
Happy Birthday - America! I hope that we can keep you a land that truly is "blessed above all others."